Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
Fulmar, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image

Scotland

The Northern Fulmar is closely related to the Albatrosses in a group of birds sometimes referred to as "tube-noses". This name is derived from the tube that lies along the top ridge of the bill which contains the nostril and gives this group of birds a remarkably keen sense of smell used for finding food out at sea.

Fulmar, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image While they may look like gulls at a distance, their stiff-winged flight is very distinctive.

They are found in the Northern oceans and set up large nesting colonies on cliffs in about May. They only lay one egg and by July, the chicks are looking very like their parents.

In the UK about 100 years ago they were only found nesting on St. Kilda in the Outer Hebrides. Since then they have set up more than 500 colonies around the British Isles. A possible reason for this population explosion might have been the change in fishing techniques towards the end of the 19th century when, with the advent of power-driven trawlers and steam winches, etc., catches became bigger and the offal from the catch became more abundant.

Fulmar, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image The name "Fulmar" comes from the Iclandic for a foul gull and refers to the smell that comes from the fishy oil in its stomach. If you approach to close to a Fulmar, you might trigger its defence mechanism which consists of squirting this foul-smelling oil at you.
Fulmar, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Fulmar, St Kilda, Scotland, August 2003 - click for larger image
Fulmar chick, St Kilda, Scotland, August 2003 - click for larger image
Fulmar, Handa Island, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
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