Amazing

By Mikey Jones 


These gannets’ homes literally have all the trappings.

The beautiful white seabirds have taken to building their nests from broken fishing nets left floating in the seas.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

The birds consider the colourful plastic netting a more attractive option to seaweed, which they normally use.

But it is proving deadly for them, with birds dying after swallowing indigestible pieces or getting themselves trapped.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

The gannets’ predicament was captured by 63-year-old German photographer Ingo Gerlach on Helgoland, a small German archipelago in the North Sea.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

Ingo said: “On the steep cliffs of stone islands in the stormy North Sea, gannets breed alongside various other species.

“Normally their nests consist of seaweed they have collected.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

“However, the gannets keep finding more and more remains of fishing nets and use these instead.

“The plastic material they are made from is a real danger to the birds.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

“They happily swallow colourful, small pieces of plastic, and they easily get tangled up in the netting and strangle themselves to death.

“In some years ornithologists count dozens of seabirds who have died this way, and a high percentage of them are always gannets.

“It’s like the red rocks of Helgoland are becoming a cemetery for the birds.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

“Every once in a while someone will be able to free a gannet from the rubbish, but often in the vertical cliffs people cannot help them.

PIC BY Ingo Gerlach / CATERS NEWS

“And sadly the gannet’s problems are not going to come to an end anytime soon, as mountains of plastic rubbish are building up in our seas.”