Last winter's storms saw 50,000 dead sea birds including puffins, guillemots and razorbills wash ashore, researchers say
8:38PM GMT 12 Dec 2014
Last winter’s savage storms caused worst sea bird disaster ever to hit Europe, according new research which shows that some 50,000 washed ashore dead
The puffins, guillemots and razorbills were in a "severely emaciated" state when found on the internationally important islands of Skomer and Skokholm off the Pembrokeshire coast. And many more would have died at sea.
Researchers who monitor the sea birds say they could not get enough fish to eat after prolonged gale force winds brought in huge Atlantic swells, and they basically starved.
By the end of this year's breeding season the numbers of adult puffins returning was down by 25% on the previous year. They estimate about 5,000 birds usually found on Skomer and Skokholm may have died, roughly a quarter of the colony.
Dr Matt Wood, of the University of Gloucestershire, said: "Puffins typically live in large island colonies, seabird cities if you like.