Developing and assessing a monitoring strategy for burrow nesting seabirds in Ireland
Ireland host’s considerable numbers of three burrow-nesting seabirds; the Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) and European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus), the most recent population estimates were obtained as a part of the JNCC led Seabird 2000 census. This project, funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, aims to develop and test a monitoring strategy for burrow-nesting seabirds at a national level in Ireland. To date, no cost effective strategy has been successfully developed and implemented.
Within the study group, we have obtained more accurate estimates of population size for Manx Shearwaters on three islands, Little Saltee (Co. Wexford), Great Saltee (Co. Wexford) and High Island (Co. Galway). These figures, yet to be published, are substantially different from those obtained during the Seabird 2000 census – raising the question is this population increase or inaccuracy in previous estimates? The project is in its first year and has begun testing the efficiency of numerous methods including playbacks, camera work, radar and acoustic monitoring.