Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus taking flight from sea

Seabird recovery on Ramsey Island

Warden, Lisa Morgan, reports on two seabird recovery projects on Ramsey Island following the successful eradication of rats in 2000.

Bringing back the puffin

"Ramsey Island in Pembrokeshire lost its entire puffin population to rats, so we've been hard at work tempting them back.

By spring 2010, 200 lifelike puffin decoys were delivered to the island, and we created a surprisingly convincing puffin colony ready to attract the attention of any passing puffins. Early sightings were slow, so we developed a puffin sound system.

The growling call of puffins could now be heard for several kilometres, and proved more of an incentive to investigate than decoys alone.

The number of real-life puffins increased from one to 10, and up to a dozen puffins now visit the area daily throughout the breeding season. Some have touched down on the rocks, the first recorded puffins physically standing on Ramsey in over 60 years."

Puffin sitting on rock, Isle of May National Nature reserve

The Manx shearwater story

"With Project Puffin we were starting from zero, but Manx shearwaters are a different story.

This year, we have seen another significant increase in breeding numbers. We counted 4,796 pairs, up 25% in four years. This makes Manxies our most numerous breeding bird.

Our main challenge was accessing Manxies in their burrows, a problem we attempted to solve by digging in wooden nestboxes with hinged lids. By spring 2016, nearly 60 boxes were in situ.

At the beginning of May, we were thrilled to find that two of the boxes were occupied. We were even more excited when our first ever nestbox egg was laid on 29 May. By the middle of July both pairs had hatched their single eggs.

We checked and weighed the chicks weekly, and both reached 500 grams by the beginning of September. Both chicks fledged by mid September. To the best of our knowledge these are the first Manx shearwaters to fledge from artificial nestboxes anywhere in the world.

Thanks for your support!

We couldn't do this seabird work without your support – thank you so much."

- Lisa Morgan, Warden

 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus, adult flying low over the water of an evening, Isles of Scilly

How you can help

Fulmars Fulmarus glacialis, in flight and the rising moon, Ramsey Island RSPB reserve, Wales

Thank you for what you're already doing to help our projects in the UK and abroad - we couldn't do it without you. If you feel you can donate some additional money at this time, it will help us achieve even more.