Page last updated at 01:09 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Stitch-up to save puffin chicks

Puffling on St Kilda
The pufflings can become disorientated by lights on the Scottish isle

People talented at sewing are being asked to make cotton drawstring bags to help save lost puffin chicks on the remote Scottish isle of St Kilda.

Dozens of the baby birds become disorientated each year by lights from buildings housing ranger staff and end up inland, instead of out to sea.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) said rangers would use the bags to rescue the animals and keep them safe.

The pufflings will be then taken to the coast and released back into the water.

St Kilda, a group of islands designated a World Heritage Site, is home to 500,000 seabirds, and hosts thousands of breeding puffins from April to August.

Rescue bags

Property manager Susan Bain called on anyone able to sew well to produce "rescue bags" to help protect the puffin population.

She said: "St Kilda's seabirds are so important, so we do everything we can to protect their populations.

"Every puffling is precious and we rescue every one we can.

"Our staff take great care to keep any lights to a minimum. Despite this, we always seem to find some stray pufflings around the staff housing.

"It is really important that we make the release of these birds as stress-free as possible.

"The bags really seem to work well and we need to replenish our stock for the summer season."

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SEE ALSO
Smelling a rat on remote Scottish isle
05 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Seabirds may get more protection
01 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Decline at biggest UK puffin site
04 Jun 08 |  Science & Environment
Bird night attacks may be unique
05 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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