With the breeding season for many migratory birds in Iceland coming to a close, experts say that conditions have been less than optimal due to a cold, wet spring.
Tómas Grétar Gunnarsson, head of the Research Centre at the University of Iceland in the South, stated to RÚV:
“This is an average year in a way; we take two trips each summer where we monitor the young birds. In the first trip, we assess the breeding success of species that lay their eggs early, such as oystercatchers and godwits, and in the second trip, we focus on those that breed later, like plover, for example. In both cases, the results were well below average.”
The breeding success of seabirds has been evaluated annually by the centre since 2011.
According to Tómas, this is primarily due to the challenging seasonal conditions in the spring and early summer in South Iceland. However, it is expected that the breeding rates will be better in the northern and eastern regions.
“It’s a combination of various factors that influence this,” Tómas stated further. “Weather conditions, food availability, and hatching times – everything is interconnected to some extent.”
Concerns about the puffin population have also been reported by ecologists due to their poor breeding in recent years.