The RSPB and other wildlife organisations are asking for help for one of Cornwall's most rapidly declining seabirds, the kittiwake.
August 2013. There are only a limited number of locations in Cornwall which the kittiwakes call home, Towan Head, Newquay being one of their largest colonies. Sadly the population in Cornwall has declined drastically over the last 30 years, with a drop by 46% from 3429 pairs in 1985 to just 1853 pairs in 20001 and latest available figures show there are now fewer than 300 pairs around Cornwall's coast2. Kittiwakes have continued to decline nationally, with a massive 47% drop in numbers between 2000 and 20123.
As well as providing essential homes for nesting seabirds, the coastline is also Cornwall's biggest attraction for people, especially visitors, and as such is an increasingly busy place.
Helen Booker, speaking for the RSPB in the south west said; "New adventure sports such as coasteering have taken off and have brought people into much closer contact with wildlife than before.
"Unfortunately, recreational activities in some locations during the breeding season can disturb some of our most cherished and vulnerable seabirds. This year we've been monitoring kittiwake numbers at Tea Caverns and have recorded nests being abandoned on an area of cliff close to that used by coasteerers.