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Lights off for Manx Shearwaters on Rum - September 2012


Manx Shearwater chick (c) Sean MorrisManx Shearwater chick (c) Sean MorrisSeptember is the month when the majority of Manx shearwater chicks fledge (leave the nest) from the huge colony in the mountains of Rum.  This year looks like being a very good year as many of the burrows in the study areas are occupied by heavy very healthy chicks.  
Unfortunately every year a number of young birds are disorientated by outside lights left on in Kinloch and surrounding villages, particularly Mallaig.  These birds often crash land close to the light source and many are then killed by gulls, crows, cats or dogs.  Local people can help the birds by turning off any unnecessary outside lights and drawing curtains to reduce the amount of light escaping through windows.
Any birds that are found on the ground in Kinloch can be handed to Mike the ranger or to Sean (if you find the bird late at night it can be kept in a cardboard box overnight) who will ring them and release them safely away from predators.

Birds that are found in Mallaig can be handed to Martin Carty at the Moorings (tel 01687 462225).  Martin will be out throughout September searching for crashed birds all over Mallaig.  He sometimes rescues 200 birds in a season that would otherwise be killed by gulls and other predators in Mallaig.

Amazingly it will only take these young birds a couple of weeks to reach their wintering grounds off the coast of South America.


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