During February more than 1,000 dead seabirds were found around the coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset in SW England.
Only a small proportion has been found alive.
More than 20 different species have been recorded with the major casualties being auks (guillemots, razorbills and puffins) with smaller numbers of kittiwakes, gannets, fulmars, gulls and shags [Note One].
Birds also washed up on beaches elsewhere around the UK (including 600 in Wales) and more than 1,000 have been recorded in the Channel Islands.
Tony Whitehead from the RSPB says wildllife is experiencing great pressures from climate change and human interaction:-
Puffins have fared particularly badly, with more than 30 reported dead around the UK, 97 dead in the Channel Islands and 14,455 dead and 1086 live found on beaches in SW France.
These small birds can’t dive very deep to find their food and storm turbulence means fish are likely to move deeper in the water column to find calmer conditions.
Even if fish are still close enough to the surface for puffins, the RSPB says that feeding in storm-tossed seas must be akin to trying to see and catch fish inside a washing machine set on spin.