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Read by Charley and Dave

Most seabirds are predators, catching fish to sustain themselves and feed to their young. Auks feed on smaller fish such as sandeels (a personal favourite of the puffin), whereas gannets can catch larger species such as mackerel or wrasse.

A puffin carrying sandeels

A puffin carrying sandeels

As we have learnt before our seabirds have different methods of catching their fish in the wild. But many, particularly gulls and gannets, have learnt that human fishing practises often leaves lots of dead fish in the water. So these birds follow human fishing vessels collecting fish that is discarded over the side.

Gulls following a fishing trawler for easy food

Gulls following a fishing trawler for easy food

Many gull species, particularly herring gulls, have also learnt that humans are very messy on land and leave food around everywhere. This is why many herring gulls are often found in coastal towns and landfills feasting on our waste. (Note that these are herring gulls, the popular name ‘seagull’ does not actually exist).

Herring gulls

Herring gulls

Gulls feeding on human rubbish at Chouet landfill, Guernsey

Gulls feeding on human rubbish at Chouet landfill, Guernsey

Whilst all seabirds can catch their own fish sometimes it is easier to steal fish from another bird. Lesser black-backed gulls do this to puffins to Burhou sometimes. Despite many people thinking the gulls are chasing the puffins to eat them, they are in fact chasing them for their fish, a process known as kleptoparasitism. (Unfortunately we are not yet at the stage where puffins have chicks to bring food back to this year; so for this video of kleptoparasitism we are using footage from 2013).

Gull Steals a Fish (Kleptoparasitism)

ECOLOGIST'S UPDATE

Our boat tours are designed to offer people a closer look and different perspective on our seabird colonies. But sometimes the different views you get of the landscape itself is also very interesting. For example, part of Les Etacs, from one particular angle on the boat, looks like a giant rock turtle coming out of the water!

"Turtle rock"

"Turtle rock"