Manx Shearwater population hits new high on Ramsey Island


The RSPB has revealed that the breeding Manx Shearwater population on Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire, has reached a new high.

A total of 6,225 pairs were counted on this year's survey, representing a 30% increase on the 4,796 pairs tallied during the last survey in 2016.

Ramsey Island's Manx Shearwater population continues to increase (Zac Hinchcliffe).

The recovery of Manx Shearwater on Ramsey Island is thanks to a rat eradication programme that was carried out in 1999-2000. Brown Rats arrived on Ramsey in the 1800s via shipwrecks, decimating the island's breeding Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. By the time the RSPB bought the island in 1992, Puffin had long been extinct as a breeding species on Ramsey and the shearwaters were just about clinging on, with 500 pairs producing very few young each year due to rat predation.


In the 22 years since the project was conducted, the seabirds' response has been better than the RSPB had hoped for. Population censuses, which take nearly three weeks to complete, are conducted every five years. From a pre-eradication total of 850 pairs in 1998, the population has increased markedly with each survey.

Visit the RSPB Ramsey Island blog here.