As part of a Europe-wide project documenting the issue of marine plastics pollution, the BTO is asking birders to keep an eye out for dead Fulmars over the festive period and into 2011.
Any dead birds found in good condition (as it is the stomachs that need to be analysed) should be collected and kept safe from scavengers until they can be sent on to the BTO in the New Year — in these freezing conditions there shouldn't be any problem with storage! If you find a large number of birds, then it may be possible for these to be picked up, so do contact Lee Barber or Nigel Clarke at the BTO (01842 750050) in the first instance.
'Blue' Fulmar (photo: Mark Grantham).
As long as they are in good condition, dead birds found should be sent first-class to:
Birds should be sent frozen, triple-bagged and with the notification 'Biological Specimen' clearly written on the package. If requested, BTO will also be able to refund postage costs for sending birds in.
If you have any queries about the project then please do contact the team. Please remember to also report any ringed birds that you find (via www.ring.ac). BTO is also keen to hear of any reports of bird deaths associated with the severe weather. This will enable us to provide advice on the need for suspension of shooting and reductions in disturbance to protect vulnerable bird populations.
Contents of one Fulmar stomach showing plastic fragments (photo: Mark Grantham).