It is an impressive natural spectacle: guillemot chicks jump from the rocks on Helgoland to their parents in the sea without being able to fly. Now the 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, either jump from Lummenfelsen directly into the water or onto the ground – depending on the starting point. The young animals cannot 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 Helgoland.

It can take hours to days for a young animal to jump

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. According to the information, after about four years the adult animals come back to the Lummenfelsen on Helgoland. “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 Helgoland Tourismus-Service and the institute for ornithology “Vogelwarte Helgoland” are offering a varied program of events all about the Lummenfelsen from Friday to June 25th.