Thank you for visiting the Sponsor a Storm Petrel page!
The European Storm Petrel is the smallest Atlantic seabird, weighing only 26g (about the same as a house sparrow!). Despite its small size, it spends most of its life far out to sea in all weathers, coming ashore only to visit their breeding colonies on remote islands off NW Europe. Storm petrels migrate south each year to spend the winter in the south Atlantic, off southern Africa. Despite these epic voyages on the high seas, storm petrels can be very long-lived, often surviving in this harsh environment for 20 years or more.
A Rocha Bird Observatory in southern Portugal has been studying the migration of these "stormies" over the last 18 years, as they return northwards past the coast of southern Portugal in early summer. Since 2005, the project has been boosted by the enthusiastic involvement of Earthwatch Institute volunteers. Our monitoring project, which uses taped calls at night to lure the birds into nets on the coast, has allowed the study of these ocean-going seabirds outside the breeding season and away from their breeding colonies. Each bird is fitted with a tiny numbered ring so that we can track its movements. Since 1990, nearly 4,000 storm petrels have been caught, ringed and released in Portugal, and many of these have been recaptured by other scientists near the breeding colonies. The data from these records has already provided a unique and valuable insight into the mysterious and remarkable lives of these tiny seabirds.
Your sponsorship donation will be used to continue and develop the ongoing scientific research on the links between climate change and the migration behaviour of storm petrels being carried out by A Rocha Portugal and the Earthwatch Institute.
The recommended amount per stormie is £20 (UK pounds), but smaller (or larger!) amounts are also welcome. To calculate the amount in your own currency, visit the following web page: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
When you donate, please add your email address or postal address to the "comments" box, or tick the box to say that you are happy for me to contact you by email. This will enable me to get in touch in order to send you your sponsorship materials, comprising:
1. A certificate of sponsorship, including all the details of your sponsored storm petrel, and the opportunity to give it a name
2. A glossy poster featuring a very cute storm petrel
3. News of the latest developments in storm petrel research from Portugal and around the world, including how your donation is being spent.
4. Updates on any sightings of your storm petrel in Portugal or overseas!
If you have been storm petrelling with us in Portugal and would like to sponsor a specific stormie, please tell me when it was caught, or what was distinctive about it! (e.g. its ring number / 1-legged / sang a lot / one that you released yourself) Otherwise, I will choose one at random from among the stormies we caught on a night when you were helping us with the fieldwork, or from among the 2007 birds.
Once you've sponsored your stormie, your name will be added to the A Rocha bird-ringing database next to its ringing details, so that if your stormie is ever recaptured we will know to contact you with an update on its movements.
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor our research work: A Rocha Portugal will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you -what a bargain!
Many thanks for your support -it is much appreciated.
Dusk at the main study site, on a remote part of the Portuguese coast.