From Iceland — Nesting In Terrible Conditions

Nesting In Terrible Conditions

Published June 28, 2011

The nesting of both puffins and arctic terns is in an abysmal state, scientists say, and their numbers are a fraction of what they normally are.
At this time of year, both puffins and terns begin to build nests and lay eggs. This is an especially big event in the Westman Islands, where puffin populations are normally very high. However, RÚV reports that this year, there are scarcely any puffins or terns to be found in areas that previously were nested by thousands of them.
Bird expert Ævar Pedersen said that while conditions have been bad in the past, they are atrocious today. Areas from Snæfellsnes down to southern Iceland and the Westman Islands show a distinct drop in the numbers of terns and puffins, while other bird species seem to be doing fine.
In fact, puffins have already stopped laying eggs in the Westman Islands. Scientists investigating puffin nesting areas said they found very few eggs, and biologist Erpur Snær Hansen said the matter was troubling, as it is very early in the season for puffins to be finished laying eggs.
Reasons behind the great drop in numbers and the premature end to laying are at this time still unknown.

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