Secret Irish Conservation Project Helps Sea Birds
Owing to a secret Irish conservation project, one of Europe’s most endangered birds is expected to make a significant comeback. The roseate tern – which is the rarest breeding sea bird in Europe – is being helped back from near extinction in three specially-designated colonies on islands just off the east coast of Ireland. So successful has the project been that Ireland now boasts 90 per cent of Europe’s core breeding population, with 1,079 pairs nesting at Rockabill Island, off Skerries in north Co Dublin. However the project has been kept secret (until now) for fear of attracting unwanted attention from the public – and rare egg collectors who could possibly throw a spanner in the works.
The slender, gull-like birds, also known by some as sea swallows, are distinguishable from the common and arctic tern species by their black bills and a rosy-pink flush on their breasts; from which they get their name.