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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reducing the density of breeding gulls to enhance recruitment of immature Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica to a breeding colony on the Isle of May, Fife, Scotland

Published source details

Finney S.K., Harris M.P., Keller L.F., Elston D.A., Monaghan P. & Wanless S. (2003) Reducing the density of breeding gulls influences the pattern of recruitment of immature Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica to a breeding colony. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 545-552


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Control avian predators on islands Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study on the Isle of May, southeast Scotland over a 23 year period (1975-1998) (Finney et al. 2003) found that the breeding population of Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica increased from 3,000 to approximately 19,000 breeding pairs during a period of gull control (1972-89). Adult herring gulls Larus argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls L. fuscus were culled and gull nests destroyed, reducing the population from 17,000 to 2,500 pairs and reducing nesting density by 30%-100%. Following the end of the control in 1989 (and an increase in gull population to 4,100 pairs), the puffin population continued to increase, reaching 42,000 pairs in 1998. Puffin recruitment between 1989 and 1998 was significantly higher in areas with low gull density, or that were maintained as gull-free through the destruction of nests.