When ornithologists caught wind that "Star Wars: Episode VII" would be filming on Ireland's Skellig Michael island, they hoped cameras wouldn't start rolling until September. But this time around ... J.J. Abrams shot first. 

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"It's a trap!" Puffin nesting in the monastery ruin on Skellig Michael Images: Howderfamily/Flickr

Skellig Michael can be seen rising from the Atlantic nearly 12 kilometres off County Kerry, Ireland. Kashyyyk-like cliffs and thick Irish fog add to the island's eerie mystique (for the non-fangirl/boy among us, Kashyyyk is home planet to Chewbacca). Combine that with an abandoned eighth-century monastery and you've got one heck of a film set.

Abrams' escape to the 'Emerald Isle' is already inspiring fans (check out the Skellig Michael filming mock-up below), but for the thousands of birds nesting there, the little intergalactic invasion could cause a lot of trouble.

"In July we have a lot of breeding birds still," Birdwatch Ireland Senior Conservation Officer Dr. Steve Newton tells Radio Kerry. "I would be quite happy if the filming took place in September ... which is a much better time of year to do this sort of thing." 

Skellig Michael has been protected as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996 – and for good reason: if there was such a thing as the gannet galactic sennate ... the Skelligs would be Coruscant (the rocks are home to the second largest gannet colony in the world)Puffins, guillemots, shearwaters and petrels are among the many other species nesting not only on, but in the cliffs.

According to the The Irish Film Board, the three-day filming programme has been designed with the breeding birds' needs in mind, but the quick trip certainly isn’t putting wildlife groups at ease. Underground nesting means it will not only be harder for production to avoid encroaching on the nests, but also for experts to monitor and asses the birds' behaviour. Hopefully the seabird set-crashers can find their zen and handle the stress ... after all, fear is the path to the dark side.

Top header image: Pedro Vezini/Flickr & Alex Morrice/Flickr