Northern Ireland Seabird Report

This annual report is the published outcome of the work of the BTO Northern Ireland Seabird Co-ordinator, appointed in February 2013, and the activities of the evolving NI Seabird Network of volunteers and organisations such as National Trust, Ulster Wildlife and RSPB that have provided data for 2013 and previous years.

Since 1986 the majority of annual seabird surveillance in the UK has been undertaken as part of the Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP) coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The programme is a partnership of stakeholder organisations throughout the UK, including the BTO, RSPB, The Seabird Group and the country environment agencies.

In order to examine trends at individual colonies, and across the UK, it is a great advantage if individual sites can be monitored consistently for many years. Data are gathered in a consistent manner using standard published methods and entered into a central database.

The SMP gathers data relating to:

  • Breeding abundance – the number of breeding pairs or individuals, which is a medium to long-term measure;
  • Breeding success – the number of eggs laid and, ultimately, chicks fledged.

The SMP generates annual population indices which are expressed as a percentage of the population recorded at sites in 1986 when standardised monitoring began.

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