Being an island Rum has an interesting diversity of bird species.
Rum is perhaps most famous for its colony of Manx Shearwaters. Over 60,000 pairs of this black and white pigeon sized bird nest in burrows near the summits of the islands highest mountains. After spending the winter off the coast of east South America the shearwaters return in late March to reclaim their burrows – usually the same burrow in previous years. The birds only return to the colony under the cover of darkness as a protection from predation from predators such as Golden Eagles. Each pair of shearwaters lays a single egg in May and the chick is fed by the parents until early September when it is abandoned and it must find its own way to the sea on a dark September night.
Another species that Rum is famous for is the White-tailed Eagle. Rum was the site of the first phase of the re-introduction of this species to Scotland when 82 young birds from Norway were released between 1975 and 1985.
There are now over 50 pairs of this species breeding in Scotland and they are regularly seen both inland and around the coast of Rum.
Golden Eagles can also be regularly spotted soaring over the islands mountain tops and ridges and Red-throated Divers are regular breeders on many of the islands hill lochs. Large numbers of seabirds of several species such as guillemots, kittiwakes and shags also breed on the cliffs surrounding the island. Many other species of birds can also be seen on a visit to Rum.
Remember that many of the birds on Rum nest on the ground are rare and susceptible to disturbance from humans or dogs. During the breeding season April-July please be aware that birds may have nests or young chicks in places you might tread on them such as on the beaches. Please keep your dog under close control.