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The cliffs and coastlines of Iceland are well known for their stunning array of bird life. From Atlantic puffins to Arctic terns, kittiwakes to common eider, its avian inhabitants make Iceland a must-see for many a wildlife enthusiast. For locals, the presence of the cliff-nesting birds also facilitates a centuries old Icelandic tradition – seabird egg collecting. Photographer Terry Whittaker has documented this historic (and mildly hazardous) tradition, and tells us about the experience.

‘I’ve been working on seabird issues in Iceland for a couple of years so I came across the practice quite early, on but finding someone doing it and willing to be photographed took a while. My daughter lives in Iceland and one of her seabird researcher friends knew Jón’s wife. So she set up an introduction.'
For the full story see our blog.
Puffin (Fratercula arctica) on cliff ledge calling, Latrabjarg, Iceland, July. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Puffin (Fratercula arctica) on cliff ledge calling, Latrabjarg, Iceland, July.
Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) breeding colony on cliff edge. Langanes Peninsula, northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) breeding colony on cliff edge. Langanes Peninsula, northeast Iceland. May.
Slow motion close-up of a large group of Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) feeding from a fish processing plant outfall, Grundafjordur, Iceland, March. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Slow motion close-up of a large group of Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) feeding from a fish processing plant outfall, Grundafjordur, Iceland, March.
Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. May.
Kittiwake turning egg (Rissa tridactyla). Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Kittiwake turning egg (Rissa tridactyla). Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland.
RF - Gannet (Morus bassanus) flying to nest site on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Northeast Iceland. May (This image may be licensed either as rights managed or royalty free.) - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / RF - Gannet (Morus bassanus) flying to nest site on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Northeast Iceland. May (This image may be licensed either as rights managed or royalty free.)
Gannets mating (Morus bassanus) at nesting colony on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Langanes Peninsula Northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Gannets mating (Morus bassanus) at nesting colony on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Langanes Peninsula Northeast Iceland. May.
Gannets (Morus bassanus) flying from nesting colony on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Langanes Peninsula, Northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Gannets (Morus bassanus) flying from nesting colony on Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs above rough sea, Langanes Peninsula, Northeast Iceland. May.
Common eider (Somateria mollissima) on water, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland, March. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common eider (Somateria mollissima) on water, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland, March.
Two Razorbills (Alca torda) interacting, Latrabjarg, Iceland, July. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Two Razorbills (Alca torda) interacting, Latrabjarg, Iceland, July.
Guillemots (Uria aalge) nesting on sea stack. Hornvik, Hornstrandir, Iceland. July 2015 - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Guillemots (Uria aalge) nesting on sea stack. Hornvik, Hornstrandir, Iceland. July 2015
Common murre or common guillemot (Uria aalge). Langanes peninsula, northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre or common guillemot (Uria aalge). Langanes peninsula, northeast Iceland. May.
Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) breeding colony. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) breeding colony. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May.
Common murre / guillemots (Uria aalge) in nest colony on Langanes peninsula, northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre / guillemots (Uria aalge) in nest colony on Langanes peninsula, northeast Iceland. May.
Man preparing to be lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man preparing to be lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man being lowered over cliff edge to collect seabird eggs. Pile of eggs on cliff top including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May... - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered over cliff edge to collect seabird eggs. Pile of eggs on cliff top including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May...
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man collecting Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs from cliff. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs from cliff. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man collecting seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man collecting seabird eggs including Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) from cliff. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting seabird eggs including Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) from cliff. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down steep cliff face to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down steep cliff face to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man collecting Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man harvesting eggs in Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colony, on steep cliff face. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man harvesting eggs in Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colony, on steep cliff face. Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being raised up cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being raised up cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down a cliff to collect seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge). Camera attached to helmet, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula,... - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula,...
Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) four in breeding colony, eggs exposed on rock surface. Langanes Peninsula, northeast Iceland. May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) four in breeding colony, eggs exposed on rock surface. Langanes Peninsula, northeast Iceland. May.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre/ guillemot (Uria aalge) and Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Gannet (Morus bassanus) colony on opposite c... - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre/ guillemot (Uria aalge) and Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Gannet (Morus bassanus) colony on opposite c...
Man being raised up a cliff after collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being raised up a cliff after collecting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Men sorting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into egg boxes, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Men sorting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into egg boxes, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man being lowered down cliff to collect seabird eggs including those of Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge). Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Two men washing Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs in stream. Collected from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Two men washing Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs in stream. Collected from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) and Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) eggs foraged from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Common murre / guillemot (Uria aalge) and Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) eggs foraged from Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. May 2018.
Man sorting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into egg boxes, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man sorting seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into egg boxes, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Man gathering harvested seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into a box, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Man gathering harvested seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge) into a box, Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
Box of harvested seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May. - Terry  Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Box of harvested seabird eggs, including those of Common guillemots (Uria aalge), Skoruvikurbjarg cliffs, Langanes Peninsula, Iceland, May.
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