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Puffins and gulls have complex relationship on Burhou
Puffin Cam
Burhou's puffins live alongside gulls as part of a complex natural relationship

Burhou, off Alderney, is home to colonies of gulls and puffins as well as the Channel Island's only colony of storm-petrel.

The Alderney Wildlife Trust work on the island to record the bird life and maintain what accommodation there is.

2011 saw the Trust begin work on developing a new five year plan for their work on the island.

Trust manager Roland Gauvin said the work on Burhou was "one of the most important things" they do.

As well as just being a part of the Alderney Wildlife Trust's work Burhou forms part of the Alderney West Coast and Burhou Ramsar Site.

Roland said the Trust started working on the island in 2005: "It was following concern on the increasing number of gulls and decrease in puffins."

Seagulls
The Alderney Wildlife Trust are seeking volunteers to work on Burhou

He said: "What the project has discovered is that the number of gulls has been fluctuating quite heavily, they did increase at the start of the last decade, but they are now relatively stable... puffin numbers have stayed stable since the 1980s."

Roland said they had also found that rather than being a direct threat to each other the gull and puffin colony's interaction is much more complex than they previously believed and formed a symbiotic relationship between the birds.

As well as the gulls and puffins the island is home to storm-petrels, which Roland described as a "much more significant" bird as this is the only colony of them in the Channel Islands.

But, he explained: "Because people can't observe them so easily people tend to forget them, but they are an important bird for the islands."

The storm-petrels nesting habits, he added, leave them vulnerable so protecting them is a major part of the Alderney Wildlife Trust's work on Burhou.

The Trust are looking for volunteers to work on the island in the coming years, if you are interested you can contact them via their website .




SEE ALSO
Watching puffins on Burhou island
14 May 10 |  Nature & Outdoors


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