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6 Jun 2023

Seabirds, camera, action!

Written by Ellie Owen, Senior Seabird Officer
A close-up of a puffin with a row of sand eels dangling from its brightly coloured beak.
We would love you to submit photos of seabirds carrying fish at any National Trust for Scotland place. This will help us monitor what food seabirds are finding to feed their chicks.

Seabirds are under threat. One of the main problems is with their food – either the fish are just not there, or they’re smaller and less nutritious than they used to be. However, you can help!

Have you seen a seabird carrying fish in its beak?

If we capture a good range of images of seabirds carrying fish, we can build up a picture of what types of fish each seabird species is finding at colonies in our care. This will allow us to campaign for better protection of the food resource, and to spot any changes in the seabirds’ diet.

Take part safely

We would love to collect a good range of photos but we also need to be careful that the birds are not disturbed. Please follow this advice when photographing birds:

  • Keep your distance from the birds – take your photo and then move away as quickly as possible to allow the bird to take the food to its chick unimpeded.
  • Never walk close to nests or ledges, or over puffin burrows, as this could result in adult birds being disturbed or the burrow collapsing. The birds may sometimes seem tame but they’re busy trying to feed and protect their chick at this time of year. Now, more than ever, it’s up to us to make sure they can do this without disturbance.
  • Keep away from cliff edges while taking photos; remember to keep yourself safe at all times.

At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe the law.

How to submit your photos

Many thanks for taking action to help Scotland’s seabirds – we really appreciate it.

You can email your photo to

As well as your photo, please include the following information:

  • The National Trust for Scotland property* where you took your photo
    * We are only collecting images from National Trust for Scotland sites in this project. If your picture is from another site, then please keep it safe as we hope there will be other projects in the future looking to collect these images.
  • When the picture was taken (dd/mm/yy and hh:mm)
  • Which species of bird is carrying the fish (if known)
  • Your name (please confirm if you would like us to use your name if we publish the image)
  • If you are happy for the National Trust for Scotland to use your image for communications about our seabird work in the future.**
    **Please note that if you provide permission, you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way, including in any media worldwide. However, you will still own the copyright to everything you contribute to the National Trust for Scotland.

Please note that we only need one image of each bird. If you have multiple images, submit the one where the fish are most visible.

A large puffin stands with wings stretched out wide and some sandeels dangling from its beak.
Puffin with sandeels | Image: Laurie Campbell

The National Trust for Scotland, as a data controller, is committed to protecting your personal data. We will process any personal data collected from you for the purposes of recording details of your submitted photograph(s) and relevant copyright. We will contact you via your email address if we require any further information regarding your submitted photograph(s). If you would like us to keep in touch about the project and our work at the National Trust for Scotland, please sign up via the Stay in Touch form. You can unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For further information about how we process personal data and your rights under data protection law, please see our Privacy Policies.

Save our seabirds

Please help us protect our vulnerable seabird colonies.

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