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Puffins Thriving–Despite Climate Change!

February 24, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Remember headlines like these?




It turned out to be just more fake news, as the latest Farne Islands count reveals:



Puffin numbers on the remote Farne Islands are “stable”, despite early results of a  survey which prompted fears they could be struggling.

The National Trust said rangers conducting the survey last May had thought initial low numbers on the outlying islands of the 28-island archipelago were due to the harsh winter and a decline in readily available food.

There were fears the initial results in the five-yearly study would be replicated across the islands, which are situated off the coast of Northumberland, spelling bad news for the threatened seabird.

But it now seems the lower numbers on the outer islands are the result of the thriving grey seal population, causing puffin burrows to be inadvertently crushed and leading more birds to nest on the inner isles, the Trust said.

Final results from the 2018 survey, which involved checking a proportion of burrows on eight of the islands, reveal there are around 44,000 pairs, up 9% on the last count conducted in 2013.

Numbers of the seabird, which is listed as globally vulnerable to extinction amid declining populations, have risen on the islands in the past 25 years, the National Trust said.

Some 37,710 pairs were recorded in 1993 and the population peaked at 55,674 pairs in 2003, but that was followed by a sudden crash in 2008 when numbers fell by a third before slowly recovering.

National Trust ranger, Thomas Hendry said: “When we started the count in the outer group of islands we were very anxious that numbers were down, especially as we know puffins are struggling for survival across the globe.

“After further investigations on the inner group of islands, numbers seemed to be much more positive.

“This could be due to the islands being more sheltered, providing an ideal habitat for the puffins to successfully breed and raise their young.

“Another factor for the lower bird numbers on the outer islands could be the success of our grey seal population. ”

The seal population of the Farnes has increased (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The seal population of the Farnes has increased (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He said the seal pup numbers had grown from 1,704 to 2,602 in the last five years.

“A rather unfortunate consequence of this growth is the seals are competing with puffins for areas to raise their young.

“Although the two species are in residence and breed at different times of year, the weight of the seals could be crushing the puffin burrows and eroding surrounding vegetation.”

Dr Chris Redfern, emeritus professor at Newcastle University, who helped to verify said the count suggests “population of puffins on the Farne Islands overall is at least stable at the moment”.

“However, there are indications of some re-distribution of puffins between different islands so we need to be vigilant to ensure that all islands remain in tip-top condition for this seabird to breed successfully in the future.”

But he said the results suggested the seas off the Northumberland coast could still support good numbers of breeding seabirds and indicate the colonies were not showing the declines seen in populations further north.

  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 24, 2019 2:59 pm

    Puffins find new breeding grounds, fed up of being disturbed by climate scientists!

  2. February 24, 2019 3:01 pm

    Extinction in 50 years makes a better scare story. One would think that the puffins and seals never, ever, before competed for the same breeding space.

    • John Palm,er permalink
      February 24, 2019 3:12 pm

      So where’s the cheerful reporting of this on the BBC?
      Surely something to celebrate isn’t it?
      Not holding my breath……

  3. Francis permalink
    February 24, 2019 3:32 pm

    “…seal pup numbers had grown from 1,704 to 2,602 in the last five years.” Hmmmm. Would that mean that fish stocks are up, too? Strange things are afoot.

  4. rah permalink
    February 24, 2019 3:32 pm

    The usual alarmist BS. Look! we have a crisis caused by climate change! Then months later. Never mind. It turns out Grey seals are thriving and we discovered that the birds can actually fly off to other areas where it’s safer to nest! And this is “Science”?

  5. Athelstan. permalink
    February 24, 2019 3:45 pm

    Beautiful bird, tough as old boots, adept, skillful and very resourceful survivors, Puffins are a marvel of nature as are, all UK Avian species. We’re lucky to be able to see ’em and they see us, the respect is not mutual nor ever reciprocated.

    • February 24, 2019 7:22 pm

      Yes beautiful birds.

      There’s nuffin, nuffin, nuffin
      Quite as happy as a puffin
      When he’s busy doing nuffin
      In the blue.

      A good philosophy if you can get round to it.

      – Wisdom from my grandad who used to call me Puffin.

  6. February 24, 2019 4:00 pm

    Is there anything ‘climate change’ doesn’t threaten, according to blinkered propagandists – until proven wrong, as usual?

  7. Jon Scott permalink
    February 24, 2019 5:27 pm

    You mean after REAL science is done the truth comes out rather than the obscenity pushed by those with an agenda ( snouts in the troff)?. Also notice how little coverage the truth will get when someone actually behaves like a real scientist and establishes a credible methodology rather than working back from the answer they want. We are being subjected to this nonsense daily pushed by the usual suspects…in the UK the flag wavers are the Guardian and Pravda, sorry the BBC. People should be held accountable for their scare stories and named and shamed because this is serious.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 24, 2019 5:30 pm

    Either the BBC rally doesn’t care any more and just say Climate Change” because it can an wants to, or the “journalists” are so brainwahsed that they believe each and every negative story must be down to climate change.

    What a truly frightening organisation it has become.

    • Jon Scott permalink
      February 24, 2019 5:37 pm

      They DO care. This is the problem and the danger. The organization is riddled with people who hate every aspect of our Judeo Christian Caucasian society and they want to tear it all down no matter how they do it with no thought of what will come next

  9. Jon Scott permalink
    February 24, 2019 5:33 pm

    The clear and present danger, the threat to our way of life and the future of mankind is the marxists with their subversion of our society together with their strange bedfellows the unscrupulous biznizmen and the useful idiot followers who “believe”, lemmings who want to be first to jump off the cliff.

    • dave permalink
      February 25, 2019 10:47 am

      ‘…the threat to our way of life and the future of mankind is the marxists…”

      But it is only the West which is still drinking the Kool-Aid. The rest of mankind has vomited it up and will live – if only to engage in a different folly and cruelty.

  10. markl permalink
    February 24, 2019 5:35 pm

    And another false prediction attributed to CC. You think more people would be paying attention to the long list of failed AGW caused calamities that keeps growing, and growing. I can’t think of any that have actually come true.

  11. Gas Geezer permalink
    February 24, 2019 6:50 pm
    All BBC editorial staff are “invited” to attend a “training course on reporting climate change” .

  12. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 24, 2019 7:02 pm

    Good background reading by Matt Ridley:

  13. Chris Lynch permalink
    February 24, 2019 9:41 pm

    Cue extensive reporting of this good news story in the MSM – NOT!

  14. roger permalink
    February 24, 2019 10:37 pm

    The huge increase in the seal population around our coasts has had quite a bearing on our wild salmon and sea trout stocks, with some areas such as the Solway Rivers suffering catastrophic decline.
    The children in charge of conservation today have slapped preservation orders on almost every creature, whilst those they have missed are protected by anties who act with belligerent illegal behaviour unfazed by our supine police.
    Unfortunately the imbalances engendered lead to unexpected consequences such as this.
    That is what happens when you flatter the unintelligent by bestowing them with a degree.

    • Patrick healy permalink
      February 25, 2019 6:22 pm

      Correct Roger.
      However there are a few exceptions. Up here in Soviet Scotland the once pristine highlands are littered with useless windmills and giant pylons.
      The biased media (all of them) blame every dead raptor on greedy estate owners of grouse moors.
      It’s strange that not one dead bird has been attributed to the industrialisation of the landscape. Naturally not a peep (or tweet) from the rspb.

  15. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 24, 2019 11:36 pm


    Don’t know if anyone saw BBC Countryfile today – wet bogs. Usual carbon store/climate change/flooding increase/wild fires nonsense thrown in as a pretext for some activists/government dept. to dictate/seize land control.

    After stating that wet bogs acted as natural wild fire breaks, their gripe was that rotational burning of wet bogs was damaging them? Eh? Perhaps I misunderstood?

    • dave permalink
      February 25, 2019 10:58 am

      “…rotational burning of wet bogs…”

      I wonder what a dry bog is? “A defunct bog, an expired bog, a bog that is no more!” perhaps.

      Actually, some bogs are floating or quaking, because they form an early stage of choking a lake. I should think that it is quite difficult to set fire to a lake.

  16. Messenger permalink
    February 25, 2019 12:30 pm

    I seem to remember all the puffins were predicted to die out thirty years ago when the sand eels declined (a bit).

  17. The Man at the Back permalink
    February 25, 2019 2:44 pm

    Well forget the Puffins – they can look after themselves.

    A bit O/T but we have a new record max temperature to celebrate today. 20.3c at Trawsgoed (Trawscoed) in Wales. Don’t know what the exposure is like but that won’t matter anyway??

    • dave permalink
      February 25, 2019 5:41 pm

      Also a bit OT.

      The ice in the Arctic is expanding quite briskly, even yet:

      • Man at the Back permalink
        February 25, 2019 7:14 pm

        I thought that was in a death spiral dave – well it is if you get stuck in it!

  18. A man of no rank permalink
    February 25, 2019 6:00 pm

    Just wondering, any Offshore Wind farms planned for the Farne Islands?

    • dave permalink
      February 26, 2019 7:54 am

      When I search ‘Wind Farms Farne Islands,’ nothing comes up. What did come up was that the ‘average’ speed of the wind there in February so far has been 8.3 m.p.h., which does not sound too promising for a wind farm.

  19. Malcolm Bell permalink
    February 26, 2019 10:03 am

    … naturally, right at the end if their report saying things look better than the hysterics report the good Prof. has to say “not showing tge declines further north”. No updated evidence for that just a wild comment to duggest tge Farnes are a freak in the data and “the end is nigh” after all.
    These people have no scientific ethics.

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