Northern Ireland Seabird Report 2017

Editors(s): Katherine Booth Jones and Shane Wolsey

Published: March 2018   Pages: 77pp

ISBN: 978-1-908581-89-1

Download article 1.69 MB application/pdf

Since 1986, seabird populations in the UK and Ireland have been monitored through the Seabird Monitoring Programme coordinated on behalf of partnership organisations by JNCC. Sample data on breeding abundance and breeding success of seabirds are collected from a large network of sites, both regionally and nationally, to enable species’ conservation status to be assessed. To examine trends at individual colonies, at country level and across the whole UK, it is essential that individual sites can be monitored consistently for many years.

Data on breeding abundance – the number of breeding pairs or individuals – provide a medium to long term measure of how populations are faring. Data on breeding success/productivity – the number of chicks fledged per breeding pair – are regarded as short term or more immediate measure of population status.

Studies at four key sites (Isle of May, Canna, Fair Isle and Skomer) provide information on adult survival, diet, phenology used to help to diagnose the changes in abundance. Additional information on survival rates at other sites is collected through the BTO’s Retrapping for Adult Survival (RAS) scheme (Horswill et al. 2016), although there are no current RAS sites in Northern Ireland.

The SMP generates annual indices of abundance and breeding success from these data which are expressed as a percentage of the population recorded at sites in 1986 when standardised monitoring began (JNCC 2016). Where possible trends are given at the scale of the UK or country level, but where coverage is only possible at individual sites, the indices are shown at the site level. The SMP is a vital programme for monitoring seabird population trends between the full national censuses.


This report is the published outcome of the work of the Northern Ireland Seabird Network – a network of volunteers, researchers and organisations – coordinated by the BTO Seabird Coordinator, and funded by NIEA.
Northern Ireland Seabird Report 2017 cover
Staff Author(s)
Publication Topics

Related content