Animals jump from 40 meters in height

On Germany’s only offshore island, guillemot chicks are currently falling from the cliffs from a height of up to 40 meters to get to their parents in the sea.

The extraordinary spectacle takes place regularly in June, when the little birds, around three weeks old, jump off the Lummenfelsen either directly into the water or onto the ground – depending on where you start.

The young animals can’t fly at this age, but try to glide down with their stub wings as best as possible, as the Jordan association announced. Thanks to their fat padding and their light bone structure, the young guillemots usually survive jumps from heights of up to 150 meters unscathed.

The aim of the so-called Lummensprung is to get to their parents in the water, who can more easily provide their young with food there. That’s a big step for the little birds.

Sometimes it takes hours to days for a young animal to jump, the Jordan association said. The chicks, which end up behind the wall built to protect the coast and are therefore unable to get into the sea on their own, are put on the right path by helpers.

After about four years, the adult animals come back to the Lummenfelsen on Heligoland. « Then you have to convince your chicks to jump yourself. » The guillemot gets its name from its waddling gait, among other things. Together with the larger gannets, they nest closely together on the rocks.

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