Seabirds raise fewer chicks as the pandemic keeps tourists away


The fear instilled by eagles can disturb breeding guillemots

Aron Hejdstrom

The birds were behaving strangely. Normally, the summer months would be a productive breeding season for the seabirds known as guillemots or murres living on the island of Stora Karlsö in the Baltic Sea. But, of course, 2020 wasn’t a normal year.

Lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic dramatically reduced human activity around the world. And, in many cases, this “anthropause” has benefited animal species.

The guillemots don’t seem to be one of them.

Jonas Hentati-Sundberg at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and his colleagues say …