Project information

Protecting nationally important bird species

The project monitors nationally important bird species and their habitats under threat on the Treshnish Isles. There is an emphasis on voluntary work and active involvement in hands-on activities.

June 2011 - February 2012

Charity information

The Hebridean Trust

The Hebridean Trust logo
  • Need


    The Treshnish Isles have Site of Special Scientific Interest status, classification as a Special Protection Area under the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds, designation as a Special Area of Conservation and are adopted by the European Commission as a Site of Community Importance. There are, however, significant threats to the seabird populations, including the impacts of tourism on nesting seabirds, the introduction of alien species and activities in the local marine environment.


    A group of volunteers will monitor, through ringing and census work, the breeding seabird populations, including the storm petrel, manx shearwater and puffin, in addition to the threatened corncrake, of the Treshnish Isles. Without the surveys we do not have a baseline to make management judgements about threats to the seabird populations. The data supplied are of great conservation value being the sole means of monitoring the colonies of the Treshnish Isles.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Maintain the baseline data for the breeding seabird populations in 2011


    » Monitor, through ringing and census work, the breeding seabird populations, including the storm petrel, manx shearwater, puffin and corncrake.
    » Feed census and ringing data into two national monitoring programmes, the Seabird Colony Register and National Ringing Database.

    Success will be conducting a survey of the breeding seabird populations in 2011.

  • Impact


    While the populations of most seabird species show quite high levels of inter-annual variability, the long-term trend in the abundance of species is of significance from a conservation point of view. The project will contribute to the continuity of ringing and census data, which have the potential to demonstrate trends, and enable the Trust to make management judgements about threats to the seabird populations.


    There is a risk that one or more of the volunteers pulls out of the survey. We have dealt with this by working closely with the group leader and keeping a list of potential volunteer contacts to enable us to replace any drop outs.


    Feedback and reporting will be by monthly email leading to the production of the final survey report to be issued in pdf format at the end of the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £9,534

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,282 ringing equipment bird rings, Fleyg nets, mist nets etc
      £480 safety equipment first aid kit, emergency flares
      £6,285 travel/subsistence minibus hire, ferry fares, RIB hire, subsistence
      £487 fieldwork/administration polythene sheeting, calor gas, report production, insurance
  • Background


    The Treshnish Isles are an uninhabited archipelago of islands off the coast of Mull. They are formed from 8 principal islands varying in size from less than 4 hectares to 60 hectares. The total land area of the islands above mean high water at spring tides is 128 ha. The archipelago lies, at its closest, 3km west of Mull in the Inner Hebrides on the northwest coast of Scotland and extends along a northwest-southest axis for a distance of 11km.


    Seabirds, including the corncrake, storm petrel, Manx shearwater and puffin, ornithologists and visitors to the islands.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We own the Treshnish Isles and are experienced in organising and managing the surveys, which have been running for the last 32 years.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Robin Ward

    Robin is Leader of the survey group and has volunteered on the last 15 annual surveys. He also manages the data and report production.

    Tim Dixon

    Tim is responsible for logistics and has played an active role, volunteering on the last 5 annual surveys.

Puffins on Lunga (credit Dr Dirk Funhoff)

Puffins on Lunga (credit Dr Dirk Funhoff)

"The year-on-year data we collect is essential to the conservation of many bird species on the Treshnish Isles."

Tim Dixon, volunteer