40 dead puffins washed up around Bridlington yesterday, as RSPB fears grow

Photo credit: RSPB
Photo credit: RSPB

Around 40 dead puffins were found washed up on Bridlington’s coastline yesterday (Wednesday March 27).

Strong easterly winds over the past week are believed to have been causing difficulties for seabirds, who are returning to the area to breed for spring, to feed offshore.

Hundreds of puffins, as well as razorbills, guillemots and other seabirds have been found dead along the north east coast of England and in Scotland over the past fortnight.

Keith Clarkson, RSPB East Coast Reserves Manager, said that the Bempton RSPB team would be keeping a close eye on the number of birds being found - but said he feared the ‘knock-on effect’ that the deaths may cause to the birds’ breeding season.

He said: “We had 40 puffins found just on the Bridlington stretch yesterday, and more than 150 altogether on that stretch. They are being found pretty much from Scotland to Spurn Point, and with a population of a few thousand, it is obviously a worry.

“The muscles have been wasting away on a lot of the birds we are seeing, and they have used their fat reserves. Puffins feed by diving in shallow waters but the weather has made it really difficult for them. We will continue to monitor things but there could be problems with breeding further down the line if we keep finding dead birds.”

Mr Clarkson has asked members of the public out along Bridlington’s coastline to keep an eye out for birds in distress.

He advised that if birds appear injured, they may be exhausted or underfed. People should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or Jim Ward at Yorkshire Coast Wildlife Rescue on 07957 108191.

Details of dead birds found should be sent to the RSPB on bempton.cliffs@rspb.org.uk

Mr Clarkson said that despite the concerns, there were still tens of thousands of seabirds returning to the cliffs this morning.