Disastrous nesting season at Shetland Great Skua colony


Great Skua had a disastrous breeding season at a Shetland colony last year as bird flu wreaked havoc.

The Isle of Noss is a small, previously inhabited island in Shetland, separated from the island of Bressay by the narrow Noss Sound. In 2022, the breeding population of Great Skua there fell by a staggering 78% as the virus decimated the colony.

Great Skua numbers at Noss NNR crashed by 78% in 2022 (Ian Chivers).

The species also fared badly at Hermaness NNR, an important breeding site on Unst. It is the second year in a row that the species has suffere a dire breeding season in Shetland, after a grim 2021.

Furthermore, breeding numbers of Northern Gannets dropped by 16.6% on Noss in 2022.