Seabird success on Rathlin Island

Birds, Puffin, close up with sandeels
Birds, Puffin, close up with sandeels

It’s been a successful seabird breeding season on Rathlin Island, new figures from RSPB Northern Ireland have revealed.

This summer the cliffs where the birds make their homes were surveyed by islander and warden Liam McFaul and he was delighted to see many of the island’s iconic species faring so well.

Earlier this week Atlantic puffins were one of four bird species added to the IUCN Red List of birds considered to be facing the risk of global extinction. Factors including loss of food sources at sea and pollution are thought to be the cause.

However, the UK remains a stronghold for the species, including special places like Rathlin Island. This year there was an average of three pairs of puffins on the sites surveyed by Mr McFaul, while the last full count of the Rathlin colony in 2011 recorded 695 puffins.

Commenting on the results, warden Liam McFaul said: “Overall Rathlin’s seabirds had a great season this year after low numbers and poor productivity in recent years. These results are testament to all the hard work by the RSPB NI team, including a fantastic band of volunteers, working together to give nature a home on Rathlin.”