Saturday, 26 April 2014

Fulmar Birds on Copeland Island

For those who have been following my posts this week about my weekend on the Bird Observatory Copeland Island.I have already showed you a few Fulmar nesting however today I am giving more information about this wonderful bird and of course more photographs!

Fulmars are tubenosed seabirds of the family Procellariidae. The consists of two extant species and two that are extinct.


As members of Procellaridae and then the order Procellariiformes, they share certain traits. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. The bills of Procellariiformes are unique in being split into between 7 and 9 horny plates. Finally, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators, and is also an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.  It will mat the plumage of avian predators, which can lead to their death.


Fulmars have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a strong saline solution from their nose.


Two prehistoric species have been described from fossil bones found on the Pacific coast of California: Fulmarus miocaenus from the Middle and Fulmarus hammeri from the Late Miocene.


I found 2 different sites on the island that the Fulmars were nesting and this is the distance I was seeing them from. At one site there were 8 birds seen and the this site I saw 11 birds and probably the other bird was out fishing.


The genus name Fulmarus is derived from the Old Norse word fúll meaning foul, and már meaning gull, in reference to their stomach oil.


This shot was taken from one of the jetty’s. 
Can you see the birds? (white specks on the high cliff)


There are two Fulmars that are closely related seabirds occupying the same niche in different oceans. The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) or just Fulmar lives in the north Atlantic and north Pacific, whereas the Southern Fulmar, (Fulmarus glacialoides) is, as its name implies, a bird of the southern oceans. 


These birds look superficially like gulls, but are unrelated, and are in fact petrels. The northern species is grey and white with a yellow bill, (17–20 in) in length with a (40–44 in) wingspan. The southern form is a paler bird with dark wing tips,(18–20 in) long, with a (45–47 in) wingspan.



Both recent species breed on cliffs, laying a single white egg.  Unlike many small to medium birds in the Procellariiformes, they are neither nocturnal breeders, nor do they use burrows; their eggs are laid on the bare rock or in shallow depressions lined with plant material.


Fulmars are highly pelagic outside the breeding season, like most tubenoses, feeding on fish, oil or offal. Recent studies in the North Sea have shown them to be especially susceptible to plastic discards. The range of these species increased greatly last century due to the availability of fish offal from commercial fleets, but may contract because of less food from this source and climatic change. The population increase has been especially notable in the British Isles.


Like other petrels, their walking ability is limited, but they are strong fliers, with a stiff wing action quite unlike the gulls. They look bull-necked compared to gulls, and have short stubby bills. They are long-lived, with a lifespan of 40 years not uncommon.


This is one in flight and as you can see the wings are stiffer and straighter than our other Gulls.


A photograph by George Washington Wilson taken about 1886 shows a "view of the men and women of St Kilda on the beach dividing up the catch of Fulmar".  




A photograph by George Washington Wilson taken about 1886 shows a "view of the men and women of St Kilda on the beach dividing up the catch of Fulmar".  



James Fisher, author of The Fulmar (1952) calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 Fulmars each year; the meat was their staple food, and they caught around 12,000 birds annually. However, when the human population left St Kilda in 1930, the population did not suddenly grow.



This is the view I had of  the other site for the 8 Fulmars.



In Britain, Northern Fulmars historically bred on St. Kilda (where their harvesting for oil, feathers and meat was central to the islands' economy). They spread into northern Scotland in the 19th century, and to the rest of the United Kingdom by 1930. For example, the Fowlsheugh Reserve in Scotland was one of the first areas to be developed for new permanent Fulmar breeding areas.  


The expansion has continued further South; the Fulmar can now often be seen in the English Channel and in France along the Northern and Western coasts, with breeding pairs or small colonies in Nord, Picardy, Normandy and along the Atlantic coast in Brittany.









I hope you enjoyed hearing bot more about this interesting bird.

I have a short video for you which can be access at

http://youtu.be/KvVGLBumvUs

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.



I am linking this post with Saturdays Critters.

Thanks you for visiting.

Many thanks for all your comments on any of my posts.

44 comments:

  1. Gorgeous birds! Your series from Copeland Island has been very interesting. I'm sorry I've been so lazy commenting. Have a great weekend!

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  2. DANKE Margaret
    sehr intressant was ich hier gelesen habe..wusste ich nicht.

    LG vom katerchen zum Wochenende der sich über die Bilder auch gefreut hat.

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    1. Ich bin froh, dass Sie diese Post, und ich hoffe, Sie haben ein wunderschönes Wochenende.

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  3. Dearest Margaret;
    Fulmar Birds sure have unique nose and look so lovely with your pictures. I'm so happy to be able to hear your voice as well with sweet pairs♡♡♡

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. HI Miyako I am so glad you enjoyed my post and voice. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  4. Thank you so very much. Gorgeous birds - and scenery.

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  5. HI EC Glad you enjoyed the birds and scenery. Have a great weekend.

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  6. Thank you for that wonderful tour around the Fulmar cliffs of Copeland Margaret. You have given everyone a comprehensive run down on this beautiful species, and of course your pictures are superb.

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  7. Hi Phil Many thanks for your kind comment and I am glad you enjoyed this post.I suppose you will be going out soon. Not a good day here so I am staying in! Enjoy your weekend.

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  9. Beautiful looking those Fulmar, great photos as well. Really appreciate your blog me dear.

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  10. Wow! What a magnificent place! Thanks for sharing these photos of it.

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  11. You were very brave getting this close. I found one tangled up in mono filament net. It vomited all over me and my jacket. I had to have two showers that month and the jacket despite several washes was a write off. I could still smell the damn thing for weeks.
    The bird survived once I'd cut it free but it didn't deserve to.

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    1. Hi Adrian I am not surprised you stank. When you are working with these birds you put on protective clothes that you can either use again for the same purpose or throw them away! I am glad you helped your tangled bird to get free. Have a good weekend.

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  12. very interesting information on the Fulmar, and fabulous location shots

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  13. I am thinking you have a fantastic zoom on your camera! These photos are great.

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    1. Hi EG No I have not got an enormous lens but I do crop a lot! am glad you liked the photos. Have a great weekend.

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  14. what an incredible intricate and multipurpose beak and such a lovely looking bird and your shots are wonderful.

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    1. HI Lynn Glad you liked this unusual bird and thanks for you kind comment. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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  15. Enjoyed the video Margaret, great sound effects with the water and everything.

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  16. HI Roy Yes it is lovely to hear the sea sounds. I would have liked to have been able to get closer to the Fulmars to pick up the noise they were making but alas I could not climb the cliff!!! Those days are gone, have a great weekend.

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  17. Margaret, great post on the Fulmars. Interesting information on their bills..I enjoyed seeing the closeups.. Amazing birds and wonderful photos. Thank you for linking up to the critter party! Have a happy weekend!

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  18. so many wonderful photos. i certainly enjoyed learning about the Fulmars. their bills were very interesting. i would imagine their predators wouldn't mess with them much if they knew what dangers were posed for them... that video was precious. i love how they seemed to be laughing out loud. hope all is well. have a great day~

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  19. Margaret, this post was marvelous! Filled with images of the beautiful Fulmars and so much information on them. Wonderful! Happy Critter Day!

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  20. It is an amazing bird Margaret. I am in awe of your pictures and your knowledge...thanks for sharing both. I can't imagine eating these, but what an interesting bit of history.

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  21. I really enjoyed reading about the Fulars, a bird I've never seen before. A beautiful selection of photos, too. I also enjoyed the video. Nice post!

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  22. Such beautiful birds....some of your shots are just amazing...the birds look so soft and pretty and I want to reach out and pet one : )

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  23. really neat shots among the mossy cliffs!

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  24. You've done it again - another superb post about Copeland.

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  25. Beautiful Fulmars, they are so good at vomitting, ha ha. You have made it through that. Brilliant photos too.

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  26. What an interesting post Margaret! Seeing them from a distance I would have thought they were plain old gulls. You got some really wonderful shots!

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  27. Fantastic post. I loved seeing your shots of this bird. It's fascinating. That beak is so cool and the video was fun. It was neat hearing the sounds they make.

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  28. Very interesting Margaret- thanks for sharing pics and information. I've never heard of this bird.

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  29. You got some wonderful pictures today!!! And actually, I love the ones of the cliff and water just as much as the birds...it is so stark and beautiful. These are strange birds indeed. But God has given them everything they need to cope in such an environment.

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  30. That looks like quite an adventure. I'm just getting caught up from being out of town for a week.

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  31. the fulmar looks very sweet up close. When I saw them in Scotland I got the impression of a large, very strong bird with a cool bill. :)

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  32. Beautiful birds - it's interesting to learn about the Fulmar. Since I moved to California I have become very interested in bird watching - there are so many birds here that we don't have in Germany! It's wonderful.

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  33. Fascinating facts about these birds along with great shots of them in their nesting habitat.

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  34. Fascinating birds! They do look a lot like gulls. I love the shot of the bird soaring in the sky - very graceful looking!

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  35. A very interesting post on Fulmars ... a bird I hadn't heard of.

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  36. Very interesting article, nice vidéo and fotos:)

    have a good evening:)


    (¯`v´¯) From Belgium .`·.¸.·´ Wonderfull Sunday
    ¸.·´¸.·´¨) ¸.·*¨) Hᴀᴘᴘʏ Wᴇᴇᴋᴇɴᴅ
    (¸.·´ (¸.·´ .·´´¯`·.¸¸.ƸӜƷ 5★★

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  37. That's quite an interesting bird that most of us will never see! Looks like a wonderful place.

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  38. I guess it's my first time seeing Fulmars. They are beautiful. Amazing shots, Margaret.
    Thanks for dropping by :)
    1sthappyfamily.com

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