Cold weather is taking its toll as seabirds killed

Dead birds on the Northumberland Coast.'Picture by Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boat Tours.
Dead birds on the Northumberland Coast.'Picture by Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boat Tours.
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The harsh weather conditions appear to be taking their toll on wildlife in the area after hundreds of seabirds have been found dead or fighting for survival along the region’s beaches.

Weak, starving and unable to fly – victims include scores of puffins, guillemots and razorbills.

The RSPB has said that the number of puffins killed is the worst in almost 50 years and fears the ongoing bad weather may be to blame.

And in a Farne Islands blog, head warden David Steel said: “Unfortunately this prolonged weather has made feeding difficult and low temperatures have added to the seabirds’ woes. The result is that thin birds, starving, are succumbing to the elements and are now washing ashore along our beaches with the onshore winds.”

Mr Steel said that since March 17, a complex weather system has led to gale-force winds, producing heavy seas and freezing temperatures.

He added that the timing could not be worse as seabirds have returned to the southern North Sea to prepare for the new breeding season at colonies like the Farnes.

Mr Steel said the picture is ‘slightly clouded’ as seabirds experience natural winter mortality and unlike recent years, the onshore winds are bringing these birds ashore, but admitted the weather is having ‘an above-average impact’ on them.