Thompson D.L., Ovenden T.S., Pennycott T., Nager R.G., 2020. The prevalence and source of plastic incorporated into nests of five seabird species on a small offshore island. Mar Pollut Bull 154:111076. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111076
There is little evidence documenting the prevalence of plastic nest incorporation for different seabird species and populations, and even less detailing the source of such debris as nesting material. This study presents a baseline dataset on the presence of plastic in the nests of five seabird species on Lady Isle, Scotland using a novel and repeatable methodology for quantifying plastic incorporated into nests. Plastic was found in 24.5% to 80% of nests of all species. We analysed pellets of regurgitated material and the spatial distribution of herring gull nests containing plastic in the context of the tide and nesting habitat. Differences in the types of plastic found in pellets and nests suggests that plastic incorporated into herring gull nests was not derived at foraging sites and likely collected from the local environment. Targeted beach cleans before the breeding season could help minimise the quantity of plastic available to herring gulls.
Research on the source and quantity of plastic in seabird nests is currently rare.
- In this study, we assessed the prevalence and quantity of plastic in 5 species of seabird on an uninhabited island in south west Scotland.
The proportion of nests with plastic was >25% and varied between species.
- Nest plastic was likely from the local environment rather than regurgitated pellets.
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