27 February 2015

Eat like a Gannet

Along with all of the useful data coming into the Demography Team from the Nest Record and Ringing schemes, we also get some interesting or unusual reports. Our latest recovery from Dr Kees Camphuysen, Senior Scientist and Marine Ornithologist at the Nederlands Instituut voor Zeeonderzoek, is one of these:

"I was demonstrating a post mortem for Ecomare animal care staff tonight on an unringed juvenile female Gannet. It was originally found fresh dead on a beach on Texel, The Netherlands, in 2013 but was frozen to keep it in a fresh state until the post mortem."

Juvenile Gannet during post mortem - Dr Kees Camphuysen

"It was severely emaciated but this was not unusual of young Gannets at this time of year but I could feel a very lean and stiff "fish" in the stomach. It was not a fish however. It was a wing...a bird wing, heavily digested and the primary shafts suggested the bird was reasonably large. To my utter surprise, in the muddy blackish, digested remains was....a ring!!!"

The ring was put on a Fulmar chick on 4 August 2013 on Swona, Orkney by the Orkney Ringing Group. Considering this bird was found on 18 October 2013, this chick didn't survive very long. Kees and his colleagues believe the chick may have been eaten by a large fish, possibly a Cod, which was then caught by fishermen, gutted and the offal (including the remains of the Fulmar!) eaten by the Gannet. We will never know for sure what happened but it is very interesting nevertheless.

The contents of the Gannet including blackened feathers and ring - Dr Kees Camphuysen


  1. Congratulations Kees, incredible!

  2. great bit of info, makes it all worth while. Thanks

  3. We would like to see the censored part of the photo!