The Calf of Man

The Calf of Man. The Calf of Man. Lara Howe

The Calf of Man

The islet to the south of the Isle of Man, may be small but provides a home for many species of birds and other wildlife. It was farmed for many years before becoming a Bird Observatory in 1959. It is home to around 33 species of breeding birds many of which are seabirds. The Calf is also used as a resting point for many other species on their annual migration. 

Some of our breeding species include greater and lesser black backed gulls, herring gulls, shag, guillemots, razorbills, chough, peregrine and raven. 

The Islet is an important nesting site for Mamx shearwater who nest in burrows on the cliff edges. Number were once vast but sadly have more recently declinded. Most likley due to the introduction of rats after a ship wrecked on the cliffs. The Manx Shearwater Project has since been set up to eradicate these rats that feed on the eggs and chicks. The programme started in 2012 and there are already signs that Manx shearwater numbers are increasing. 

A puffin re-introduction programme has subsequently been set up to encourage puffins to nest again on the Calf as they too are affected by rats eating their eggs and chicks. 

Other visitors to this beautiful island include seals, basking sharks and cetaceans. Seals use the area during the Autumn to give birth to their pups, drawn in by the undisturbed quiet that is provided by the Calf. 

Trips to the Calf can be organised with various boats out of Port St Mary or Port Erin. Overnight stays are possible but must be booked through Manx National Heritage's website.