Scotland’s seabirds disturbed by rising boat traffic

INCREASED boat traffic is disturbing many of Scotland’s seabirds, according to new research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

The charity monitored 11 species of seabirds during ferry journeys around Orkney.

Data on more than 6,000 flocks was recorded.

Red-throated divers, Slavonian grebesm and black-throated divers were the most sensitive to boats

Black guillemots, eider ducks, and shags were less bothered.

The study concentrated on the species that spend the winter around Scotland’s inshore waters.

The BTO highlighted increases in boat traffic from dredging, fish farming, offshore wind farms, cruises, and shipping.

Threats from increased activity include collisions, pollution, general disturbance, and the release of non-native and invasive species.

David Jarrett, who led the BTO’s research, said: “A robust understanding of how different species are affected by marine traffic is needed to responsibly manage our marine environment.

“This research contributes to that process by highlighting those species that need to be managed more sensitively, and those species that appear able to tolerate higher levels of marine traffic.”

The research has been published in the Bird Study journal.

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, read about Nordic biodiversity in the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.