The Isles of Scilly are internationally important for seabirds with 20,000 breeding birds of 14 different species. The Seabird Recovery Project seeks to safeguard seabird colonies in Scilly and to reverse their population decline. The project is run by a partnership of organisations including the RSPB, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England. The Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership and the Isles of Scilly Bird Group also support the project.
The UK hosts a significant proportion of the world and European populations of two species: the European storm petrel and the Manx shearwater. Scilly’s population of European storm petrel is the only colony in England. It is of international importance (there were 1,398 pairs in 2006). The islands are also one of only two locations in England where Manx shearwater breed.
Overall, the breeding seabird population in Scilly has declined by nearly a quarter in the last 25 years. Predation by brown rats is a major threat to seabird colonies. Predation of eggs and chicks limits the distribution of bird species and threatens existing colonies. The Seabird Recovery Project seeks to safeguard seabird colonies by reducing predator disturbance.
In autumn 2010 the RSPB, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England commissioned a feasibility study to assess options for controlling brown rats. The study, which was completed in February 2011 (please click here to view the report):