Plea to respect birds during nesting season

It should be a sad day when a government is forced to appeal to the conscience of its people to respect the rights of wildlife; but such is the world we live in today.

The Isle of Man’s wildlife protection agencies have issued a statement imploring members of the public to respect birdlife in the area during the nesting season, and resist the temptation of flying drones dangerously close to their nests during the breeding period.

“DEFA (Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture), Manx Wildlife Trust and Manx BirdLife are asking members of the public to please be mindful as we enter bird nesting season (1 March – 31 August),” the statement, released on Facebook, read.

“This follows reports of drones being flown near the seabirds resting and settling on our cliffs and shores, causing them to flee.

“Our seabirds and water birds are very vulnerable to disturbance at their nesting, roosting and feeding sites. Even though they may not currently be sitting on nests – disruption around traditional nesting sites causes them stress and can prevent them from settling.”

The wildlife agencies’ concern is not unfounded – last year, a stray drone crashed into the nesting area of elegant terns, scaring off 2,500 birds and making them flee the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, California – abandoning more than a thousand eggs in their panic.

In a world where drone technology has been praised for literally saving people’s lives, delivering emergency medical supplies and rescuing people during disaster situations, there have sadly been several reports of people abusing their drones and flying them too close to wildlife and disturbing their natural habitat.

“Repeated disturbance could result in them choosing not to nest in those areas, affecting their breeding season overall. This is now a critical time to avoid disturbance, as adult seabirds need to conserve energy and gain physical strength in readiness for the rigours of the breeding season.

“With many seabirds declining in number around our coasts and globally we need to ensure these birds are given the privacy they need to feel secure in their nest sites.

So we’re asking everyone to please; keep your distance from nesting areas, in person and with drones, photography equipment or kites; stay on marked paths; keep pets under control; keep noise levels low.”


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