Biologists Ask Icelanders to Return Little Auks to Sea

seabird iceland

The winter storms that have swept the nation in the past week have also had an effect on wildlife, reports the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.

The little auk, a common seabird in Iceland, has been found far inland. The seabird averages about 20 cm [7.8 in] in length and 150g [5.3oz] in weight, and is not accustomed to long-range flight. Biologists have received updates from travellers on the South Coast of Iceland who encounter stranded birds far out of place.

Now, with some individuals stranded far from the coast after the storms, biologists are asking residents who happen upon little auks to return them to the sea.

In a statement to RÚV,  Borgný Katrínardóttir, a biologist at the Institute of Natural History, said: “We actually just received another update about another bird that was found by Sólheimar, so they can fly quite far inland. We should also keep in mind that there was a recent bird fluJust be careful and wash well afterwards. If the bird seems unharmed, just get it down to the sea as soon as possible.”

Little auks, however, have historically been a rather resilient bird. A relative newcomer to Icelandic shores, they were unknown in Iceland until the 19th century. Their conservation status is considered to be “of least concern.”