News archive

September 2019

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Puffin with sandeels in beak

The people-powered Puffarazzi

Our citizen science project Puffarazzi is back and once again needs your help to find out more about one of our best loved seabirds, the puffin! As before, visitors to puffin colonies around the UK in spring and summer are being asked to join the Puffarazzi by submitting photographs of these colourful seabirds with fish in their bills.

The project is also asking for historical photos to be submitted to aid conservation efforts. All these images will help scientists learn more about what puffins are feeding their chicks. These birds are in serious trouble with their numbers plummeting in former strongholds in the UK and Europe and the species is now classed as vulnerable to extinction. This project aims to find out the causes of these UK declines, which are likely to be related to a reduction in food availability caused by climate change.

The public response in 2017 was incredible; 602 people joined the Puffarazzi and sent in 1,402 photos from almost 40 colonies. The photos have helped scientists identify areas where puffins are struggling to find the large, nutritious fish needed to support their pufflings. They revealed variations around the UK with some areas having far smaller fish for the puffins to feed on.

Our scientists are now looking to build on this knowledge with one big difference this time round. Rather than just asking for current photos, scientists also need snaps of puffins with fish in their bills, but from any year.
We know that many people have been inspired by the plight of these plucky little seabirds and want to help them. By becoming part of the Puffarazzi, you'll be filling in key knowledge gaps currently holding back puffin conservation efforts and will help shape future advice for government on how best to safeguard our beloved puffins.

Provided the year and place of an image is known, it can be submitted; there's even a way for pre-digital era photos to be included! These images will help scientists to track how puffin food sources have changed over time.

Images can be submitted at the Project Puffin Website:

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Be a friend of the albatross

Passionate about the albatross? You can now sign up online to become a regular giver to help reduce seabird bycatch and protect this threatened feathered friend.

Albatrosses spend much of their lives soaring over the ocean. Inevitably, this lifestyle brings them into contact with fishing vessels. As a result, an albatross is killed by fishing gear every 5 minutes.
Think about it for a second. That means at least 100,000 albatrosses are dying needlessly each year! A tasty free meal on a baited hook is irresistible to a hungry albatross out at sea - but for many it turns out to be their last. They are also killed by trawl cables while they try to feed on discarded fish around the fishing vessels. Albatrosses cannot breed fast enough to replace the numbers killed. Sadly, 15 out of 22 species are now threatened with extinction.

The good news is that there are simple ways of saving these birds. By working with vessels to show fishing crews simple ways to stop killing seabirds, and with government to implement regulations, we've demonstrated that things can drastically change for the better.
 South Africa has been a shining example of how this can work, with an astonishing 99% reduction in albatross deaths in the trawl fleet since our Albatross Task Force team started there! You can help us do the same in other parts of the world by becoming a Friend of the Albatross today.

The Albatross Task Force is on a mission to reduce seabird bycatch by 80% in some of the deadliest fisheries for albatrosses around the world. By supporting our work with a monthly donation, you can help us save thousands of seabirds from a needless death and help us make this yet another shining success story in the years to come.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Knepp Estate rewilding project releases white storks

A group of private landowners and nature conservation organisations are working together to help the white stork return home to South East England for the first time in several hundred years. These large birds, symbolic of rebirth, are native to the British Isles and evidence suggests that they were once widely distributed.