Storms decimate puffin colonies on French coast

February 10, 2014
Photo taken on February 10, 2014 shows the body of a puffin washed up on a beach in Sainte-Marie-de-Re, western France, after heavy storms

The Atlantic storms that have buffeted Europe in recent days have killed at least 5,000 sea birds on the French coast, half of them puffins.

Most of the birds whose bodies have been washed up on beaches between the Pyrenees and Brittany died of exhaustion or starvation as a result of days of gale-force winds which made it impossible for them to fish, officials with the national Bird Protection League (LPO) told AFP.

"It started a fortnight ago but there has been a big increase in the numbers over this weekend," said the LPO's Olivier le Gall.

After puffins, guillemots have been the species most affected, followed by razorbills and kittiwakes.

Photo taken on February 10, 2014 shows the bodies of puffins washed up on a beach in Sainte-Marie-de-Re, western France, after heavy storms

Although most of the bird deaths were caused by the weather conditions, the LPO said there had also been some caused by pollution as a result of taking advantage of the inclement conditions to dump at sea.

Explore further: Puffins to be fitted with 'sat nav' to monitor decline

Related Stories

Puffins to be fitted with 'sat nav' to monitor decline

July 1, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at Newcastle University are using GPS technology in an effort to understand a worrying decline in the numbers of Puffins. In the last five years the numbers of the sea birds has plummeted around ...

Where do puffins go in the winter?

January 8, 2010

A recent increase in winter mortality in Atlantic puffins could be due to worsening conditions within the North Sea, according to new findings published in the scientific journal Marine Biology. The study used geolocation ...

Atlantic puffins in peril in US

June 2, 2013

The Atlantic puffin population is at risk in the United States, and there are signs the seabirds are in distress in other parts of the world.

Nature network hope for birds threatened by climate change

November 5, 2013

(Phys.org) —New research led by the British Trust for Ornithology and involving a University of York academic provides strong evidence that internationally important British bird populations are being affected by climate ...

Recommended for you

Secrets of a heat-loving microbe unlocked

September 4, 2015

Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug.

Plants also suffer from stress

September 4, 2015

High salt in soil dramatically stresses plant biology and reduces the growth and yield of crops. Now researchers have found specific proteins that allow plants to grow better under salt stress, and may help breed future generations ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.