Two Manx shearwaters have been rescued from a Ceredigion village after they were blown off course.
The RSPCA has received several calls about the welfare of the seabirds following recent stormy weather.
The islands of Skomer and Skokholm have around 50% of the UK’s Manx shearwater population – the largest known concentration of the species in the world. In August and September the adults and juveniles leave the islands to migrate thousands of miles away to the coast of South America, but strong winds can blow them off course.
On Friday and Sunday (2 September and 4 September) RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Ellie West was called twice to the Ship Inn, Tresaith, to attend to two Manx shearwaters.
ACO West said: “The first young Manx shearwater was found in a distressed state, behind a stone plant pot. The second was found shuffling around in the car park and was again distressed.
“On both of these occasions I collected the sea birds and transported them to Gower Bird Hospital for an assessment and rehabilitation.
“There have been quite a few calls recently – it is just that time of year and the weather isn’t helping.
“If anyone does find one of these stranded birds, our advice is to stay at a safe distance as they have a sharp beak and to call us on 0300 1234 999.”
On Sunday six Manx shearwaters were also released back into the wild by Gower Bird Hospital, which included some RSPCA rescued birds that had been previously rescued.
In 2011 record numbers of juvenile Manx shearwaters were rescued by the RSPCA from the surf in Newgale and from gardens in Pembrokeshire after they were blown off course.
The influx of stranded birds came in as winds hit the West Wales coast of up to 44mph. At the time more than 500 birds were transferred to the RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre near Taunton in Somerset where they were washed, fed and nursed back to health before being released back to the wild.
ACO West said: “Manx shearwaters are one of my favourite species and unfortunately we have to rescue quite a few of them around this time of year because of the weather. I have many memories dealing with them when I worked at RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre when they came in for rehabilitation.
“We have so many people thinking they’ve found a penguin, so I have a little nickname for them as Pembrokeshire penguins!
“They’re such beautiful little birds. As fledglings, they have a major journey ahead of them which is incredible in itself. They migrate thousands of miles away to the coast of South America.”
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Notes to Editors:
Pictures attached of the Manx Shearwater rescued on Friday.
The Manx shearwater is amongst the longest living birds in the UK with one being recorded age 55 years
The Manx shearwater has long straight slim wings, and is black above and white below. Its feet are placed far back on its body enabling efficient swimming, causing it to shuffle on land, or slide along on its belly.
Historically the call of the shearwater scared Norse sailors to the extent that they thought the Scottish Island of Rum, where they also nest, was inhabited by trolls.
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