Scopoli Shearwater – Rafting
John Ambrogio
Age Group:
Over 18s
Nature’s Assets
Camera Used:
Nikon D810
Image caption:

(Ċiefa) (Calonectris diomedea)

Photo taken during boat trip organised by Birdlife Malta on the 18th August 2015.

Every year just off the the cliffs of Ta’ Cenc which border the sea channel between Gozo and Malta, a large flock of Scopoli’s Shearwaters gather on the sea surface within sight of the cliffs where their single chicks nest. This grouping of sea birds is called “rafting”.

The bird raft is formed at dusk after a day of feeding on fish. Later, under the cover of total darkness, each couple returns to their burrow to regurgitate the catch to feed the hungry chick. Light pollution disorientates these birds. Rat infestations caused by food left by people near the cliffs are a cause of concern if the single chick perishes.

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