Tag Archives: seabird

Biodiversity challenge – Xeme

Death line

Sabine’s gulls,
A brace,
Dead on a beach;
Each washed-up
Mangled corpse
Entangled in the cold
Implacable embrace
Of some new-fangled
Angling gear.
Salt eyes trace
Across the sand
The telltale strand
Of fishing line,
Stretching, extra-fine,
From one ex-xeme
To another,
Brother to dead brother.
Out at sea,
Year after year,
The strangled cry.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – Xantus’s murrelet

Premature evacuation

Murrelet chicks can
Check out of their nest
At the drop of a hat
(Seawater babies).

After a quick scan
For unwelcome guests;
Beware of the cat
(Make sure the coast’s clear).

Hit-or-miss flight plan,
Just hope for the best,
Leap of faith and all that
(In at the deep end).

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – Zino’s petrel

Running out of Zinos petrel

On a mountain ledge;
Closer to the edge.

Raining cats and rats,
And fire.
Stormy weather,
Outlook dire.

Warning light
Flashing red;
Petrel crisis
Dead ahead.

From haunting cries
To silent sorrow;
Madeira today,
Gone tomorrow.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Species profile: Zino’s petrel

IUCN Red List Category: Endangered

Endemic to the island of Madeira, this species is arguably the most threatened seabird in Europe, with an estimated population of around 100 mature birds. Breeding is believed to be confined to half a dozen cliff ledges. In 2010 a forest fire swept through the colony, killing 65% of all the chicks. The young birds that escaped being incinerated in their burrows virtually all succumbed to starvation and predation, and only one bird fledged successfully. Ongoing threats to survival include invasive black rats, which predate eggs and chicks, and feral cats, which kill adult birds. More info