Mousa storm-petrels travel hundreds of miles to find food

Mousa’s colony of storm-petrels regularly travel over 180 miles in search of food, according to new research.

Storm-petrels are the UK’s smallest seabird – but that does not stop them covering huge distances foraging for plankton and small fish.

Research published in Bird Conservation International relied on GPS data after the tiny birds had satellite tags attached to them. Adult birds weigh about an ounce (30 grams) _ the same as three pound coins. The tags weighed less than a gram.

The data tracked the birds to a previously unknown feeding zone 68 miles south of Mousa. One was even found to have travelled 248 miles and ended up in Norway.

More regularly they were found to travel around 186 miles hunting food.

It is thought the bird that ended up across the North Sea had been blown off course. 

More in the “Wildlife” section of Friday’s Shetland Times.


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