Eldey in Iceland

Eldey in Iceland is a small island about 16 km off the coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland. The island of Eldey covers an area of about 3 hectares and rises to a height of 77 metres. Its sheer cliffs are and is the largest northern gannet colonies in the world, with around 16,000 pairs. This colony can now be watched live via two webcams that are located on top of the island.

The island formerly supported the last remnant population of the flightless Great auk, after the birds moved there from Geirfuglasker following a volcanic eruption in 1830. When the colony was discovered in 1835, almost fifty birds were counted. Museums, desiring the skins of the Great auk for preservation and display, quickly began collecting birds from the colony. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed there in July 1844, when Icelandic sailors Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson strangled the adults and Ketill Ketilsson accidentally cracked the last egg of the species with his boot during the struggle.

Photo By Dagur Brynjólfsson from Hafnarfjordur, Iceland – Eldey, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13262892

Eldey – Live Cam – Gannet Island