You are here: St Kilda Today > Ranger's Diary > First catch your bonxie....

First catch your bonxie....

1 July 2004

At this time of year going for a walk in some parts of the island can be a hazardous experience.  The Great skuas or bonxies defend their nest sites vigorously and take turns to do low flying warning swoops over your head and sometimes even a warning slap with their large webbed feet.

However Steve Votier and Jon Crane from Glasgow University need to get closer still.  The 'Bonxie boys' as they've been named are on the island for the next  two weeks to attach radio transmitters to the tail feathers of adult bonxies.  These transmit constant signals that will show when and where the bonxies are foraging for food.  This information, together with the analysis of bonxie pellets (the bits that are undigestible even to a bonxie), will show what these birds are eating and if they are having an effect on the populations of Leachs and Storm petrels.

The bonxies are caught in a spring net and the tiny radio transmitter quickly attached.  This will fall of naturally next time the bird moults.


  Next >>
Digging for fairies