Thursday 13 June 2013
SHOCKED birdwatchers were given a glimpse of the sometimes cruel face of nature when a mother puffin, featured on an online webcam, destroyed its own egg.
Viewers of Puffincam link on Shetland were treated to the grisly show on Saturday when the camera monitoring a nest at Sumburgh Head picked up the scenes.
Experts at the RSPB suspect the mother bird realised its egg had failed.
It is the second time puffin watchers have been dis-appointed, following a fatal attack by an adult puffin on a young chick featured on the webcam last year. Helen Moncrieff, RSPB warden on Shetland, said: "It's a sad day when you see the puffin egg has failed. It's a natural thing some eggs fail but the cause could be linked to food shortage. We know seabirds generally are finding it more difficult to source fish out at sea."
Andy Steven, from Promote Shetland, said that watching nature "up close and personal" can sometimes be "harsh".
He said: "The parent, probably realising the egg had failed, broke the egg and then tried to remove it from the nest. We also witnessed strange behaviour, similar to last year, when the nest was occupied by two puffins bringing in nesting material again. We are not sure if this is the original pair, however, after a few hours, the nest was empty again and con-tinues to looks like its been abandoned."