South Scotland

Mull of Galloway walk highlights kittiwake decline

Nature enthusiasts are heading to the Mull of Galloway in a bid to help raise funds and awareness of the decline in sea bird numbers.

They are walking to help support the work being carried out at the local RSPB Scotland nature reserve.

Thousands of birds including kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and fulmars make their home in the area.

However, numbers have been falling with the UK kittiwake population now half its 1986 level.

The sponsored walk on Saturday hopes to help study and tackle that situation.

RSPB Scotland information officer Hannah Doyle said: "The dramatic failure of seabird colonies all around our coast has been really shocking, and even this year, I can see so many empty nests, and adult birds that haven't even attempted to breed.

Image caption Kittiwake numbers have been in decline at the Mull of Galloway and across the UK

"The problem for kittiwakes is thought to be shortages of food, in particular sandeels which they're really dependent on because they can't dive deeper to catch other fish like herring - something birds like puffins can do.

"These sandeel shortages are thought to be driven by declines in their own food supply, zooplankton, caused by increasing sea temperatures brought on by climate change."

The walk is scheduled for Saturday starting at 11:00 from the RSPB visitor centre at the Mull of Galloway.

Participants will be informed about the work being done to assist seabirds like the kittiwake.

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