Manx Shearwater Skulls

These are some of the Manx Shearwater skulls I found on Skomer Island in Wales. When I got home I had to clean them up by pulling off the feathers that were still left on and then putting them in hot water so I could clean up the skull.

If you look at the photos one of the skulls has thinner sections in it, I think this one is a juvenile bird and the skull hasn’t finished growing.

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Skomer August 2013

When me and my family went to Wales we went to Skomer Island by boat, it was really exciting, it took 20 minutes to get there. While we were waiting we saw loads of Moon Jelly Fish.

We stayed on Skomer for a whole day and explored the island, we saw Puffins, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Chough, Peregrine Falcon, Gulls, Grey Seals, rabbits, butterflies, lots of dead birds and Sexton beetles, these are beetles that eat up the dead bodies of animals and birds, they have a lovely red and black pattern on them and they are about 2.5cm long.

The dead birds were Manx Shearwaters that the Great Black Back gulls had killed and eaten, but had left their wings and heads. I bought some of the dead birds home, they didn’t have any flesh on them, just dried skin and feathers.

I had a fantastic time on Skomer, it was really fun. I loved seeing all the different birds, I couldn’t believe how many different ones I saw in one day.

Sheep Skull

I got my sheep skull when we went on a walk. A friend had found a decomposed sheep while she was walking her dog and told us where we could find it. So the next day we went out to look for it; dad removed the skull, there wasn’t any skin or flesh left on it. When we got it home I cleaned it up a little with some bleach to kill any bugs and glued the teeth in the right place with super glue. Then dad cut a short piece of wood to hold the jaw in place. It is now on the shelf in my room, with the rest of my skulls.

Badger Skull

I found the badger skull like this, it was in our stream down the garden, near the tunnel where the stream goes under the road. It looked like it had been there for a long time because it had mud were it’s brain should be, this is called the cranium.
It has a hole in its cranium and it’s cheek bone (zygomatic arch) and there is a hole nearer the orbit. I am not sure but it might have been hit by a car and fell in the stream from the road.
I know it’s an adult because the plates in it’s skull are fused together and the sagittal crest on top of the skull is quite large. If you have a look at my baby badger bones at the skull, you can see it hasn’t got a sagittal crest; and you can still see the lines in the skull where it hasn’t fused together because it was only a baby badger.

Cormorant

We went to Thornes beach to look for fossils, I found some fossilized snail shells, turtle shell and crocodile skin.
When we were down the beach I found a dead Cormorant, it was already decomposing, so I took the head and put it in a bag. I have found quite a lot of dead sea birds this year, I don’t know why. When I got home I put it in the garden to finish decomposing, I put a crate over the dead animal so the flies can get in but nothing else can.
The photos show the skull after the flies have finished cleaning it up and I have washed it, I am going to think about whether to clean it up any more.

From the back of the skull to the end of the beak is 15cm.
Its beak is 78mm long.

Cormorants and Shags are like each other to look at, but Cormorants have white under their beak, Shags don’t, they have a black short crest on their head.
Cormorants catch fish in long underwater dives from the surface. It can feed in quiet estuaries and in lakes or rivers.

Nesting: They have a bulky nest made of sticks in trees and on cliff ledges, 3-4 eggs, 1 brood in April-May.
Length: 80-100cm
Wingspan: 1.3-1.6m
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Weight 2-2.5kg