Here are 20 facts about the beloved Puffin. They are such beautiful, intelligent birds I had to write something about them.
They are so delightful in their way of doing things, I can understand what makes them such an attraction.
The Puffin is the common name for the swimming and diving birds of the North Atlantic and Pacific.
Its large, triangular bill, brilliantly coloured in yellow, blue, and vermilion, is adapted to carrying several fish at one time; it also gives the Puffin its alternate name of sea parrot. During the mating season horny excrescences may develop over the eyes.
Puffins have rather odd looking dumpy bodies, short legs set far back, and small wings; although expert swimmers, they are clumsy on land and in flight. They nest in colonies in burrows or rock cavities on northern islands and migrate regularly-the Atlantic puffin as far south as Long Island and the Pacific puffin to California.
Each year, about a million puffins suddenly appear from the open ocean to get to their breeding grounds.
In early April they start congregating around their breeding sites; a burrow, either dug out of the soil, or amongst the rocks.The female Puffin lays its one egg in May incubates it. Both male and female share in feeding the chick. After 6-7 weeks the parents take off leaving the chick by itself for about a week until it then leaves the burrow alone.
In the month of June and July they are at their largest numbers as they spend all their time diving into the waters for fish and searching for sand eels to feed their chick, usually early in the day and in the evening.
The young puffin uses a toilet area towards the front of the burrow away from the nest to stay clean. It cannot risk getting its feathers soiled and ruining the waterproof protection its feathers provide.
Their main diet consists of herring, hake, capelin and sea-water.
With dominent black and white markings on their plumage, as well as superior diving capabilities, it has led many people to believe it has much comparison to penguins. As a fact; Atlantic Puffins are actually not at all related to penguins. They are in fact small seabirds (about 25 cm, or 10 in. long).
They can dive down as deep as 60m (200 feet). They swim by using their wings and fly as in the air, using their feet to steer.
In August it is the time the puffin has finished on the island and has gone back out to sea.
Getting a really good sighting all depends on whether they have nested on inaccessible cliffs for instance but you can usually guarantee a sighting in the right areas and in the right season.
There are many places to see Puffins, but the main good places in the Highlands are Marwick Head on Orkney, the coast around John O'Groats, Durness and Sutherland.
If Puffins can escape their main predator, the great black-backed Gull, they can live up to 20 years in the wild. The Gull can grab a Puffin in mid-flight or pick one off the ground. The Puffins other main predetor is Man. Not necessarily as food but in other ways such as overfishing, causing a shortage of food for the adults to bring their young. Also Oil spillage. Oil on a Puffins down not only can it damage its waterproof ability but can make them sick when they try to clean it off. And finally global-warming which causes disruption to the water temperature. The birds are adapted to waters at a temperature between 0-20 degrees C (32-68 degrees F).
If you would like to help puffins, you can help curb global warming by engaging in environmentally-responsible activities like using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, cutting down your carbon emissions, and recycling.
I thought I'd end on a good and happy note with they beautiful, intelligent birds : )
Puffins are faithful lovers (if your don't mind the expression : )). When they reach the age of 3-5 years, they start to go in search of a partner with which stay with and mate for life.
It is believed that the birds colourful bills and feet, fade in the winter and brighten in the spring. This helps assess potential mates. Once on land, the pairs of Puffins reunite within the colony. Some pairs exhibit a special behavior known as "billing" where the two birds rub their beaks together. This often draws an excited crowd of other Puffins to watch.
Take Care, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the read.
Author: © Marie Milton