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Over 100 dead seabirds washed up on Kirkcaldy beach

A dead seabird on Seafield Beach, Kirkcaldy.

A dead seabird on Seafield Beach, Kirkcaldy.

A LARGE number of dead seabirds have been washed up on Seafield beach as a result of the recent cold weather.

Puffins, and guillemots were among the species found as hundreds of birds all along the east coast of the UK are thought to have died of starvation.

Andrew McCubbin of Kinglassie made the discovery on Monday as he went to the beach to check if any birds in the latest wreck - the death of a large number of birds in a single incident - had come ashore in Kirkcaldy.

Mr McCubbin, a member of the British Trust for Ornithology and a wildlife photographer described what he found as “grim”. He said: “I counted 56 puffins, 54 guillemots, 24 razorbills and three shags all dead.

“Seabirds that come and breed on the Inner Forth Islands and coastline in the area have been starving to death because of the recent cold weather.

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“They can’t feed because the sea is too stormy for them to dive into. Also in the cold weather fish will go deeper so these types of birds can’t dive down far enough to get to them. The large numbers are due to the fact that it’s the start of the breeding season so they begin to come inshore.”

An RSPB Scotland spokesman said it could be the worst puffin wreck for almost 50 years.

He said: “Despite their small stature puffins are fairly hardy birds, adept at coping with the harsh conditions of life at sea.

“To hear that so many have been discovered dead is unusual and worrying.

“We are in close contact with experts from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to learn more about what is happening, but it appears that the prolonged and unprecedented weather is making life extremely difficult for this species.

“We are fast-approaching the start of the seabird breeding season where tens of thousands of seabirds return to their colonies to raise their young.

“The recent events could have an impact on the success of this year’s puffin breeding season, a species already suffering population declines.”

The spokesman added that th RSPB will closely monitor the fortunes of seabirds throughout the summer months.

 

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