Skip to content

Albatross Dying Out Because Of Climate Change–Latest Attenborough Fake News

October 28, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier/Me Grim Nasty


It looks like David Attenborough has been making it up as he goes along again:


On Sunday evening, the legendary BBC presenter took viewers to the southernmost continent for the first episode of “Seven Wolds, One Planet.” Now 93, Sir David emphasised the shocking effects human beings are having on this untouched frozen desert by contributing to global warming. He revealed how the population of albatross – large seabirds that live in cold conditions – has more than halved in 15 years.

This is due to the warming of the Southern Ocean, which is causing more severe weather patterns than ever seen before and the young birds simply cannot deal with it.

Sir David said: “Summer in Antarctica is a time of plenty, when most Humpback whales are able to put on the reserves they need for the whole year.

“But the wildlife in these waters faces an uncertain future.

“The Southern Ocean is warming and 90 percent of the world’s ice lies in Antarctica.

“In some parts, the rate that it is melting is doubling every decade.

“Sea levels are rising, but there is a more immediate threat.”

Sir David explained how albatross chicks are often left on their own by their parents.

He added: “The warming of the coldest region on Earth is having a profound effect on global weather patterns.

“This change in the climate is already being felt right here.

“This grey-headed Albatross chick is four weeks old, so far it has been sheltered from the gales by its parents.

“It is the only chick that they will have in two years.

“The delicate touching of the beaks strengthens their bond, but these tender moments cannot last forever.

“As a chick grows, so does its appetite, so one parent has to leave to find food before the other returns, parting is a big step and they take time over it.”

The chick was then shown struggling to stay alive on its own, before meeting a sad destiny which clearly touched the presenter.

Sir David finalised: “For the first time in its life, this chick is alone.

“The Antarctic is the windiest continent and in recent years climate change has brought storms that are more frequent and even more brutal.

“Winds now regularly reach 70mph, and the Albatross chicks must try to stay on their nests.

“Surviving the storm is one thing, but now off the nest in these freezing temperatures, this chick has just hours to live.

“The brutal conditions have taken their toll, some have succumbed to the exposure.

“The albatross population here has more than halved in the last 15 years.”


The Southern Ocean has been warming? Afraid not, Mr Attenborough, the opposite is true:



Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies for 60S to 90S [-60N to -90N]



Sea surface temperatures there have actually been dropping since the 1980s, and are no higher now than in the 19thC.

And as any half competent meteorologist could have told him, global warming should in theory lead to weaker extratropical storms, not stronger. This is because of the poles warming faster than the tropics, thus reducing the temperature differentials which affect the strength of storms.

HH Lamb was always very clear on this and found that storms in the Little Ice Age tended to be more powerful than now.


As for those poor albatross, bird experts could have told him that their decline is due to industrial fishing and not global warming. Indeed, the Guardian ran an article earlier this year, describing the problem:



Industrial fishing vessels that accidentally kill tens of thousands of albatrosses each year routinely ignore regulations designed to save the birds from extinction, according to research.

Using satellite data, investigators found that vessels employing longline fishing techniques showed a “low level of compliance” with measures to reduce albatross deaths.

Longliners target tuna and other species, but their fishing lines – which can be up to 80 miles long – also unintentionally trap, drown and harm seabirds, as well as turtles, dolphins and other marine life, a process known as “bycatch”.

Modern fishing methods have been identified as a major danger to plummeting albatross populations, threatening to drive almost three-quarters of all species to extinction, said Birdlife International, who undertook the research in conjunction with Global Fishing Watch.

Under a red list compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 15 out of 22 albatross species are considered endangered.

The study, which drew on satellite data to map the behaviour of longliners in the Indian, Atlantic and western central Pacific ocean, revealed that just 15% of the vessels used a measure known as “night-setting”, which involves putting lines down at night. The technique is one of three mitigation measures designed to protect albatrosses, which only feed during the day….


Albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds are “irresistibly drawn” to the trailing, baited longlines, said Winnard. Each year, an estimated 100,000 birds are hooked and drowned by longline and trawl fisheries.

“This level of bycatch in the fishing industry is hugely unsustainable for birds that can take up to 10 years to start breeding,” said Winnard, who added that the findings were “truly powerful” for the way the data shed light into the “opaque world” of global fisheries and their impact on ocean biodiversity….

A study published in 2011 estimated the bycatch of seabirds of longline fisheries to be between 160,000 and 320,000 annually.


Bird Life International have gone one stage further:


Too many youngsters were going missing after fledging. With no knowledge of where they fly to, it was much harder to halt their decline. Now, nine satellite-tagged juveniles have successfully left the nest. We can watch their journey – and so can you.

A single egg sits nestled between swaying tussock grass on a windswept, sub-Antarctic island. The parents incubate the egg for 72 days, alternating shifts. It hatches, exploding into a gigantic cotton wool ball of a chick. Its parents dote on it, providing more than half a kilogram of food a day, and it matures into a sleek, dapper fledgling.

And then it disappears.

This is the problem that has confounded British Antarctic Survey (BAS) researchers on South Georgia, a remote British Overseas Territory in the middle of the South Atlantic. We’re all familiar with the tradition of youngsters taking a gap year to explore the world and find themselves, but juvenile Grey-headed Albatrosses Thalassarche chrysostoma take this rite of passage to the extreme. When they fledge, they rove across the Southern Ocean, plucking food from the sea. We don’t know exactly where they go, but we do know that it’s a different range to the adults. And then, after around seven years, they return to their colony of hatching to breed. Or, at least, they used to.

It’s a problem that needs to be solved fast, because the Grey-headed Albatross is in crisis. The reason for its Endangered status: a catastrophic population decline at South Georgia, its largest breeding stronghold. Since 1977, numbers have more than halved, and over the last decade the decline has accelerated to a worrying 5% a year – far faster than any other albatross species. The difference on the islands is stark – colonies that once teemed with nests and chicks are now sparse and lacklustre, with bare stretches of tussock grass swaying in the wind.

Comparison: Grey-headed Albatross colony on Bird Island © John Croxall / British Antarctic Survey

Richard Phillips, BAS seabird researcher, explains: “We’ve been intensively monitoring albatrosses on Bird Island for over 40 years, and from recording re-sightings of ringed birds, we worked out that survival rates in the first few years after leaving the colony were far lower than expected, which was a major contributor to the population decline. However, we had little idea of what was happening to the birds before they returned.” Their only lead was a handful of reports from Japanese longline fishing vessels. “Japanese fisheries were reporting Grey-headed Albatross juveniles as bycatch,” Says Stephanie Winnard, International Marine Project Officer for the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK). “But there was some confusion over whether they were being wrongly identified, as they are notoriously hard to distinguish from juveniles of other species.” There was only one way to know for sure.

And so in May 2018, 16 satellite tags were attached to albatross chicks on the aptly-named Bird Island, in collaboration with BirdLife International’s Global Seabird Programme*. Field Scientist Derren Fox recalls the ease of tagging a bird that has evolved with no natural mammalian predators: “Tagging was very straightforward. It took in the region of 4-5 minutes for each bird, and we selected healthy, well-developed chicks to increase the chances of them fledging successfully and surviving as long as possible.”

Then, in early June, the moment they had all been waiting for arrived. One by one, the albatrosses set off on their maiden voyages – and the team watched with baited breath to see what happened next. “It is a real privilege to watch the chicks fledge,” says Derren. “You can’t help but get attached to them, visiting some of the colonies so frequently, especially as towards the end of the season they suffer so much predation within the colonies.”

The predation that Derren refers to is the threat of giant petrels and skuas, which attack the naïve fledglings. And this threat is only getting worse. In a vicious circle, the sparsity of Grey-headed Albatrosses on South Georgia is allowing giant petrel attacks to become more and more successful. Tragically, seven of the 16 tagged juveniles never made it off the island for this reason

Fortunately, nine intrepid explorers have escaped unscathed, and their route is already beginning to engross the team. “Initial results have shown some of the juveniles headed to the area where they were reported to have been killed by the Japanese fishery, which is the first time we’ve tracked the species to that area,” says Steph. This ties in with recent research by the RSPB and BAS, which showed high overlap between Grey-headed Albatrosses from South Georgia and the extensive tuna fisheries of Japan and Chinese Taiwan.



As a supposed expert on zoology, you might have thought Attenborough would have checked first with the experts, before jumping to conclusions.

  1. October 28, 2019 5:56 pm

    Has DA forgotten about ‘survival of the fittest’?

    • Sheri permalink
      October 28, 2019 8:57 pm

      That was brutally killed by the climate change cult. Darwin is DEAD. (Yes, I am serious.)

  2. Robin Guenier permalink
    October 28, 2019 5:59 pm

    Another interesting claim in the film was that climate change has caused glaciers to calve so rapidly that the resulting ice rubble means penguins cannot see the seals that prey on them – i.e. we’re not only killing the sad albatross chicks by causing them to be blown off their nests, but also all those cute penguins.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      October 28, 2019 6:37 pm

      Yes Robin but did you see any population statistics showing the leopard seals thriving or the penguin population being correspondingly decimated? Nor did I. In fact, the penguin population appeared to be extremely healthy. More BBC rubbish I am afraid.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      October 28, 2019 7:36 pm

      That was another preposterous assertion. Whatever the population of Leopard Seals is, they will take however many Penguins they need regardless of sea ice conditions – the 2 relative populations will balance each other. It’s nuts to suggest that Penguins in the Antarctic have never had to cope with icy seas in all states (solid, chunky and slush) before ‘climate change’. DA said the Penguins could neither walk nor swim, but as soon as the seal popped up they had no trouble dispersing across the ice mash at a rapid rate of knots. Wiki says “Lone male leopard seals hunt other marine mammals and penguins in the packed ice of antarctic waters.” So all perfectly normal then! No doubt if there was no floating ice the commentator would have said the Penguins were easy prey because they lacked ice cover when entering the sea!

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        October 28, 2019 9:14 pm

        Indeed. And in another sequence we saw hundreds of thousands of cute little innocent krill being devoured by those nasty big whales. Will no one speak up for the krill?

  3. October 28, 2019 6:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  4. Barry Capsey permalink
    October 28, 2019 6:05 pm

    Becoming very cheesed off with Attenborough. He’s more than ‘had his day’. Time to butt-out.

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      October 28, 2019 6:18 pm

      You may be Barry – but this morning’s papers were full of praise:

      • Charly PB permalink
        October 28, 2019 10:59 pm

        Always the case with “Pravda”.

    • Patrick Healy permalink
      October 28, 2019 7:54 pm

      Apart from the carp this old has been spouts, I was intrigued by the Express headline above
      “Seven Wolds one Planet”
      I never realised that albatros(is?), whilst great ocean travellers, reached the English Wolds.
      It’s amazing what global warming can achieve!

    • Brembo permalink
      October 28, 2019 9:51 pm

      As has the BBC spewing their lies on all manner of subjects on a daily basis

  5. October 28, 2019 6:43 pm

    I am totally sick of watching SDA, he is losing all respect and he is putting his name to extremely misleading information. No wonder the BBC will not give any air time to scientists who doubt AGW as they cannot risk the loss of revenue they would experience if SDA was knocked of his pedestal.

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 28, 2019 6:46 pm

    Superb research that undermines the usual climate schlep. Visiting relatives, I was forced to watch this. I noted no mention of undersea volcanoes that contribute so much to the warming under the WAIS. Pick up a penguin seemed to be quite normal for leopard seals, with no real threat to penguin populations, but this normal behaviour in the food chain was also portrayed as catastrophic. Climate propaganda once again.

    • Charly P-B permalink
      October 28, 2019 11:04 pm

      David Attenborough should be ashamed of this. Is he senile, or does he really want the money?

      My answer is: David Attenborough wants the money. Shame on him.

  7. Iain McPhee permalink
    October 28, 2019 6:59 pm

    I watched it last evening because I wanted to see the photography (which was stunning) BUT I will not be watching any further episodes or maybe only with the sound off because of all the b***ocks spouted. As one of the other commentators mentioned above we never get any details about the species that do thrive and there certainly seemed like lots of penguins anyway. They are not going to be dying out any time soon.

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 28, 2019 7:20 pm

    It’s just so depressing that the majority of people seem to swallow this nonsense and the MSM fails to call it out as fake.

    Watching the GoggleBox participants’ reactions to the DA Walrus episode showed the powerful emotional reaction this propaganda creates. People will then accept almost any personal imposition to ‘save the world’. Precisely what this brainwashing is designed to achieve.

  9. stan permalink
    October 28, 2019 7:37 pm

    Oh come on you lot. Have non of you had 80 yr old relatives, they talk rubbish and you certainly wouldnt take their advise to the bank. He’s reading someones script

    • M E permalink
      October 31, 2019 4:15 am

      I resent the imputation !

  10. Brian Logan permalink
    October 28, 2019 7:41 pm

    I watched in 4K (Ultra HD) and was enthralled – then out came the obvious false climate change propaganda – WHY!!!!! Any decent nature expert should know the real truth yet the BBC still gives out XR propaganda, unfortunately people believe it due to the shear amount that is pumped out by media outlets.

  11. October 28, 2019 7:51 pm

    It’s a slowly dying station.

    “The BBC may not be sustainable in its current form, if it fails to regain younger audiences, the communications regulator Ofcom has warned. With less than half of young people aged 16-24 watching BBC television in an average week, it risks losing a generation of potential licence-fee payers|

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 29, 2019 2:09 pm

      Do we have to wait that long? Just stop paying for it and they will face financial meltdown.

  12. HotScot permalink
    October 28, 2019 8:20 pm

    “As a supposed expert on zoology, you might have thought Attenborough would have checked first with the experts, before jumping to conclusions.”

    He [Attenborough] also spent much time in the grounds of the university, and, aged 11, he heard that the zoology department needed a large supply of newts, which he offered through his father to supply for 3d each.”

    It seemed Attenbourough learned very early on there was money to be made from Natural History (his degree).

    He’s also a prolific Gong hunter:

    By January 2013, Attenborough had collected 32 honorary degrees from British universities, more than any other person. In 1980, he was honoured by the Open University with whom he has had a close association throughout his career. He also has honorary Doctor of Science awards from the University of Cambridge (1984) and University of Oxford (1988). In 2006, the two eldest Attenborough brothers returned to their home city to receive the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester, “in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the University.” David Attenborough was previously awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the university in 1970, and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leicester in 1990. In 2013, he was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bristol. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, his first in Africa.

    Attenborough has received the title Honorary Fellow from Clare College, Cambridge (1980), the Zoological Society of London (1998), the Linnean Society (1999), the Institute of Biology (Now the Royal Society of Biology) (2000) and the Society of Antiquaries (2007). He is Honorary Patron of the North American Native Plant Society and was elected as a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science

    He is, his own walking PR machine.

    • October 28, 2019 11:02 pm

      “As a supposed expert on zoology, …..”

      No, he’s a presenter that reads scripts (very convincingly).
      Problem with all these honorary degrees… he now thinks he’s a Distinguished Fellow

      But he is only an actor reading a script.

  13. mjr permalink
    October 28, 2019 9:22 pm

    could have been worse.. he could have blamed the low numbers of albatross chicks as being due to walruses falling on them from a great height and crushing them to death whilst trying to escape from the last (starving) polar bear in the world ( you know .. the one that cant eat penguins because it cant get the wrapper off. That is about the standard of BBC natural sciences these days

  14. john cooknell permalink
    October 28, 2019 9:53 pm

    Why let the truth interfere with a good story. I lost faith with Attenborough some time ago

    The film crew are not filming natural behaviour, they are filming animal behaviour in the presence of humans, it is not the same thing.

    Predators are highly intelligent and soon get to know the presence of the human predator will likely drive out a nice easy kill. After all the film crew usually occupy the only safe ground, or whirl things around in the air scaring the sh*t out of everything!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      October 28, 2019 10:17 pm

      “Not only did the leopard seals not attack as some predicted they would, they fed me penguins, followed me around, and generally put on a nonstop show.”

      • john cooknell permalink
        October 28, 2019 10:26 pm

        And the fool doesn’t realise the Leopard Seal wants him around as it makes it much easier when there are two predators to scare the penguins!

        Our eyes face forward, we are predators, any animal who sees us recognises what we are!.

  15. October 28, 2019 11:10 pm

    Typo alert;
    The anomaly chart shows 60-90°N,… not the Sothern Ocean !

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      October 29, 2019 7:48 am

      Well spotted. Paul: this seems to be an error. If so, can we have the correct data please.

      • October 29, 2019 9:15 am

        The data’s right, Robin.

        The label is MINUS 60 to 90N (a bit like enetering coords on Google Earth

    • October 29, 2019 9:09 am

      It’s not very clear, but it is Minus 60 to 90N. Unfortuntately, that is the way KNMI’s system works

      I have now added my own graph title to make clear



      • Robin Guenier permalink
        October 29, 2019 1:34 pm

        Thanks Paul. One other thing: when I click on your link, all I get is an almost blank page with the words ‘Please select a field’ in tiny letters in the top LH corner. How can I access that graph?

      • October 29, 2019 5:44 pm

        Fixed now

  16. October 28, 2019 11:20 pm


  17. October 28, 2019 11:22 pm

    Today’s Times Review of Attenborough
    “The message was that melting ice, rising sea levels and unusual weather events such as the gale that blew that albatross chick off the nest, its pink legs pummelling the air in its death throes, are part of the slow global car crash we are watching. However, we can correct our mistakes, the cited resurgence of the whale population being an example.

    … cameraman Rolf wept at the end, … because the future of sites such as St Andrews Bay, South Georgia, now teeming with life, are under threat.
    As Attenborough, in a new red parka, said,
    “This might be the most critical moment for life on Earth since the continents formed.”
    Programmes such as this act as the distress flare.

  18. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 28, 2019 11:41 pm

    After the extended wail about whaling it should not have been difficult to avoid the albatross being hung round his neck by properly fisking the fishing.

  19. JUDY permalink
    October 29, 2019 6:39 am

    I think it is the offshore wind turbines that are the killers. Seagulls and other larger birds love to play on the wind turbulence generated by the blades.

  20. calnorth permalink
    October 29, 2019 8:12 am

    Dr Susan Crockford spoke out often on the likes of Attenborough claims in the polar region.

    “UVic bows to outside pressure and rescinds my adjunct professor status”

    Its impossible to give credibility to the BBC, Greenpeace, XR and hidden financiers such as Rockefella. Much of it is reminiscent of the Nazi’s in the last century.

  21. calnorth permalink
    October 29, 2019 8:15 am

    Dr Susan Crockford spoke out often on the likes of Attenborough claims in the polar region.

    “UVic bows to outside pressure and rescinds my adjunct professor status”

    Its impossible to give credibility to the BBC, Greenpeace, XR and hidden financiers such as Rockefella. Much of it is reminiscent of the N*zi’s in the last century.

  22. Phillip Bratby permalink
    October 29, 2019 8:30 am

    Never mind the facts – feel the propaganda.

  23. October 29, 2019 8:49 am

    Knowing that there would be unbearable global warming propaganda, I thought I’d skip it and just wait to see what others made of it. So what follows comes from a place of ignorance of the program other than what I have just read.

    The problems with long lines have been known about for a long time, and this pressure on albatrosses seems only to have got worse. Demand for tuna has grown, and the fleets have moved into more and more remote areas. The toll is unknown and unknowable.

    Attenborough’s shows have truly global reach. Imagine the opportunity of a sequence showing a fledging albatross married to images of birds drowned on long line hooks. This would actually have the power to force action against the depredations of the fleets. Only this offers many species a shot at survival. If they aren’t forced to change their ways, the long liners will fish out albatrosses until there are none left. They won’t leave until the tuna runs out.

    The terrible and ironic thing is that by blaming albatross losses on CO2, we doom them to die. No measures we take to reduce emissions on the other side of the world will offer the slightest benefit to these magnificent birds. And yet by blaming CO2 we allow the real problem to go unanswered.

    • paul weldon permalink
      October 29, 2019 9:26 am


  24. paul weldon permalink
    October 29, 2019 9:26 am

    Interesting article on the subject here:

    “Albatross are also doing better because there is more wind. One study reports female albatrosses have become a kilo heavier as a result of ozone depletion. They’ve got better reproductive success because they can glide more and use less energy and therefore have more food to give their chicks rather than using it for further foraging.”

    I cannot say that I agree with all the article states, but it does show that there are many ‘takes’ on the subject. It does, however, appear to be true that winds in the southern ocean have increased (though not necessarily across Antarctica) and the change can be attributed to (lack of) Ozone. Not because it is a greenhouse gas, but because the stratosphere has cooled and this has had a knock-on effect for the troposphere below.

    • john cooknell permalink
      October 29, 2019 11:09 am

      Stratosphere having a “knock on” effect on the troposphere below, how “dare you” suggest such a thing.

      After 40 years of study the ozone scientists admit they have no idea what causes a “Sudden Stratospheric Warming” event in Antarctica, let alone anything else.

  25. mjr permalink
    October 29, 2019 5:44 pm

    finally watched the programme.. superb photography, cliched narrative….such as comical music to accompany the baby penguins. and then the bullsh*t. BBC should put a logo in the corner of the screen when they tell lies. Best to watch the programme without the sound

  26. October 30, 2019 3:14 am

    Albatross Dying Out Because Of Climate Change but ye olde Attenborough just keeps on punching

  27. BLACK PEARL permalink
    October 30, 2019 3:04 pm

    Stopped watching any BBC stuff now.
    Shame really but I agree with mjr above, great photography but spoilt by the inevitable agenda driven politics, usually at the conclusion.
    At least David Bellamy stood by his principals even though it cost him his job at the BBC when all this nonsense started
    Gutsy guy unlike the frauds we’ve ended up with.
    In fact in the last year or so I stopped watching most TV especially any BBC news or SLY News because of their opinionated reporting over Brexit & C.Change
    Sky News Australia is completely different to the biased stuff we get from SLY here. ?

    Again ..Keep up the great work Paul … much appreciated by all

  28. mjr permalink
    October 30, 2019 3:44 pm

    Very good articie on “Conservative Woman” blog today that covers this off nicely.
    Unfortunately everyone is at it . Good Morning Britain weather girl (i refuse to call her a meteorologist) blaming the Californian forest fires on Global Warming / Climate change (some spurious rubbish about ii altering jet streams and strengthening the Santa Anna wind.) Nothing about the increased lack of maintenance etc ) so just like Climate change blowing albatrosses off nests. Its all b*ll*cks but the gullible believe it !!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      October 30, 2019 5:09 pm

      You do realise – oh never mind!

  29. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 30, 2019 5:14 pm

    South Georgia’s action plan mentions climate change but only as speculative and recognises that it is NOT the main issue.

    On other important Albatross breeding sites it has been estimated that up to 2 million birds a year are being lost to mice. I actually remember the BBC reported this itself!

    South Georgia has only recently completed a rodent eradication program, it’s probably too early to see if there will be a population rebound.

  30. Gamecock permalink
    October 31, 2019 9:41 pm

    “And a thousand thousand slimy things
    Lived on; and so did I.”

  31. October 31, 2019 10:45 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Yet again a real conservation issue is sidelined by the climate narrative of the whispery-voiced gorilla-hugging Malthusian, slayer of walruses. These people are sick.

  32. mjr permalink
    November 1, 2019 9:36 pm

    the clip of the albatross chick out of the nest was shown on Gogglebox tonight. Seeing the reaction of the watchers and their emotional involvement in the drama shows how gullible people are and how dangerous the inaccurate Attenborough narrative is

  33. Dr Phil Smith permalink
    November 5, 2019 10:27 pm

    Many thanks for this detailed response which completely agrees with what I read after watching Sir David Attenborough’s piece on the grey headed albatross. The BBC needs to get its scripts right. We can’t protect vulnerable species by blaming the wrong cause for their decline.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: