Turn out the lights to save hundreds of young birds, islanders advised
PEOPLE on a remote Scottish island are being asked to switch lights off and keep their curtains closed at night to stop hundreds of young birds being lured to their deaths.
• Residents of the Isle of Rum advised to close curtains and switch off lights to prevent deaths of hundreds of birds
• Fledging Manx shearwater chicks are at risk from being disoriented by outdoor lighting and crash landing
• Young birds vulnerable to attack from gulls, crows, cats or dogs
The Manx shearwater chicks fledge this month from the mountains of the Isle of Rum to set off on a 6,000 mile flight to their wintering grounds in South America.
However the young birds are often disorientated by outside lights left on at houses in Kinloch on Rum and surrounding villages.
As a result many of them crash land on the island or around Mallaig on the mainland nearby, where they are killed by gulls, crows, cats or dogs.
More than 250 birds a season have been rescued by Scottish Natural Heritage staff and volunteers in Mallaig alone.
Sean Morris, a member of SNH reserve staff on Rum, explained: “It may be ironic for a species which is capable of making such long journeys, but very often their trip ends very abruptly and close to home.
“The young Manx shearwater chicks can become confused by the bright lights. Local people can help the Manxies by turning off any unnecessary outside lights and drawing curtains to reduce the amount of light escaping through windows.”
Anyone who finds a chick on the ground is advised to hand it in to SNH staff. If a bird is found late at night it can be kept in a cardboard box until the morning when SNH staff can ring it and release it safely away from predators.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east