In response to the puffin wreck, Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said:
“The discovery of hundreds of seabird corpses including puffins, guillemots and razorbills along the length of the east coast, reportedly from Aberdeen down to Eyemouth and Northumberland is extremely distressing and is a major concern.
“While the reasons behind this are not entirely clear, the extreme weather conditions that we have witnessed over the past few weeks are undoubtedly a contributing factor. Many seabirds including puffins have been suffering significant population falls in many parts of Scotland in recent years and it is thought that this may be related to food shortages which could be a result of climate change and changing sea temperatures. Weak and hungry birds are particularly at risk in extreme weather as experienced recently.
“At the Scottish Seabird Centre we have been working to reverse the huge drop in the puffin population on the nearby islands of Craigleith and Fidra resulting from invasive and alien tree mallow. Our successful SOS Puffin project has involved hundreds of volunteers through a programme of mallow clearing.
“Puffins enjoy enormous popular appeal among our visitors and on our live interactive cameras we are currently looking out for the return of the first puffins to their breeding burrows on the nearby islands. We will continue to monitor the current situation closely as it develops, but clearly the significant loss of seabirds just ahead of the crucial breeding season is a major cause for concern – not least given that Scotland is of international importance for its seabirds and is home to over 45% of Europe’s seabirds.”