BAD WEATHER could be to blame for the numbers of dead sea birds that have washed up along the east coast over the last week.
Both the RSPB and the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Montrose Basin Visitor Centre received reports of dozens of bird carcases washed up along the coastline, with more than 100 found in Montrose Bay alone.
The majority of these - 74 - were puffins, although a further 20 were found to be alive but struggling, while 36 dead Guillemots were also found and another four alive but exhausted.
The conservation charity believes severe weather may have led to birds struggling to find food or succumbing to exhaustion, although the exact causes are currently unknown.
While the death of birds at sea due to weather conditions, know as a ‘wreck’, is not uncommon, an RSPB Scotland spokeswoman said the current situation could be the worst for more than half a century.
She said: “We have many reserves across the east of Scotland, which includes coastal sites and we are shocked to see the high volume of sea bird deaths this month.
“Events such as these highlight how difficult life can be for sea birds and therefore it is even more crucial for proper protection at sea through an ecologically sound marine protected areas network.
“We are in close contact with experts from the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology to learn more about what is happening but it appears that the prolonged and unprecedented weather is making life extremely difficult for this species.”
“The recent events could have a impact on the success of this year’s puffin breeding season, a species already suffering population declines. The RSPB, with the help of volunteers, will be closely monitoring the fortunes of this species and many other seabirds throughout the summer months.”