Cormorants, gannets, terns and the clown-like puffin, Wales has an abundance of seabirds. Some perch precariously on the high rocky cliffs, others frequent remote islands out to sea. Wherever they live it is important that we don’t harm them, sometimes even getting a bit too close to have a better look can endanger them. Follow this simple advice and help them stay safe and healthy.
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Seabirds: signs of distress
How to look after Seabirds
Seabirds spend most of the year out at sea but come ashore to nest between March and July. They are at their most vulnerable while they are nesting so remember to keep a good distance. We recommend never coming closer than 100 meters away.
Bird that nest in burrows and on the ground, are very wary of visitors, particularly those of the four-legged variety! Make sure you avoid coming too close to their nests and keep those furry friends on a lead.
Birds show signs of distress if you get to close to them. Watch out for head craning, head turning, head bobbing, and wing flapping in situ. It all indicates that they are preparing to fly away.
Guillemots and razorbills nest on cliffs and keep their eggs on their feet to keep them warm. If you scare them by coming to close, they can panic and fly off their ledge and their eggs could be destroyed.
Some birds rest and feed in large groups out on the sea. If you are out on the water and you get too close it can disturb them. Give them a break, they may have flown all the way from Africa!
The maximum recorded depth for a Guillemot dive is an astonishing 180m!
The gannet is our largest seabird with wingspan of 2 metres.
Puffins can swim up to 60m underwater and hold their breath for 30 seconds.
Fulmar Petrels defend their nest with foul-smelling waterproof vomit that they launch at intruders!