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Read by Charley and Dave
As we have seen before shags are pursuit divers and gannets are plunge divers. Puffins can also be described as pursuit divers, whilst common terns are also plunge divers, although they only reach depths of 1-2m compared to a gannets 20m.
Herring gulls do hunt for their own food but are possibly best described as scavengers as they steal food from other species or pick-up human waste from fishing vessels, land-fills and coastal towns.
It is not just in the way that seabirds find their food that they differ, they also travel different distances from the nest to find the food and give it to their chicks in different ways.
Puffins can travel up to 100km to find food, but when they have a puffling to feed on the nest they will rarely venture further than 50km. Shags also stay very close to their nesting site, whereas gannets can travel great distances in 30 hour fishing trips to try and find food. The way we know the foraging habits of seabirds is by attaching GPS tags to them. On Wednesday we told you all about attaching GPS tags to gannets for a PhD study by Vicky (we also try the shags) and the results we get look like this:
Puffins catch so many fish, and can keep them in their bill, so that they can always give their pufflings whole fish. Gannets can travel much further to find food so to bring it back to their chick they will often swallow it and then regurgitate it at the nest.
Gannets are so good at feeding their young that they actually overfeed them! The gannet chicks become so heavy with food that when they are ready to fledge they cannot fly. Instead they sort of jump/fall into the water and spend a short time learning to swim. In doing this they loose a bit of weight and become light enough to then fly to migrate and hunt.
Back on the 16th June I told you about the successful fledging of 2 ringed plover chicks. Then on the 19th June, the adults laid a second clutch of 3 eggs! This nest is well hidden in the grass verge at the top of the beach.
The new nest is also near where the first one was successful so fingers crossed they raise some more chicks from this third nest.