You jump again: Lummensprung on Heligoland has started

Animals
You jump again: Lummensprung on Heligoland has started

Lummensprung on Heligoland has begun

Guillemots perch on the ledges at Lummenfelsen. Photo: Marcus Brandt/dpa/archive image

© dpa-infocom GmbH

It is an impressive natural spectacle: guillemot chicks, without being able to fly yet, jump from the rocks on Heligoland down to their parents in the sea. Now the annual spectacle can be seen again.

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 Jordsand 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. That is still much higher than the cliffs on Heligoland.

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 Jordsand 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 they have to convince their chicks to jump themselves.”

The guillemot gets its name from its waddling gait, among other things. According to the Jordsand association, the birds stay mainly in the water and only come to the cliffs of Helgoland, the only German breeding ground, to reproduce. Together with the larger gannets, they nest closely together on the rocks.

The Lummensprung attracts many visitors to Heligoland every year. The Jordsand Association, the Heligoland Tourist Service and the Institute for Bird Research «Vogelwarte Helgoland» are offering a varied program of events around the Lummenfelsen from Friday to June 25 around the Lummensprung.

dpa

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