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July 2019

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

July Bird of the Month - Fulmar

July Bird of the Month - Fulmar

Normally silent when at sea, pairs will perform a noisy greeting ceremony when they meet at the nest. Their lifespan is 30 to 40 years. The young can spit oily gastric juices at any intruders. Both parents feed the young, with one or other of them staying on the nest to protect their offspring for the first two weeks. Young fly after 46 days and are then independent, living at sea for the first few years, often hundreds of miles from land.

Fulmars appear gull-like but have a thick neck, strong stubby bill and pronounced nostrils. The body is white with a grey back and tail. The grey wings have a pale patch at the base of the primaries. The head is white with dark eyes.

Flight is distinctive and diagnostic with a series of rapid, shallow wingbeats, interspersed with glides on stiff,
straight wings. Birds often glide low over the sea with their wing tips touching the water, or ride the air currents along the cliff edges. They will gather in flocks on the sea or around a food source. They will pick up crustaceans, fish and waste from fishing trawlers. Carrion such as dead birds and seals is also taken.

If you would like to connect with this species please join our walk at Samphire Hoe this month as fulmars are
regularly seen there.