Puffin…Nuffin

Wednesday 3rd August comments: We are now into August and it’s a month of change on the Isle of May as we say goodbye to the seabirds and welcome in a new season…the season of migration. However before we look forward, we shall look back as we are now saying goodbye to our seabirds. Overall we are actually pleased to see our birds go and the Terns have now moved to the nearby coastlines to prepare for their mammoth journey south. In the last few days we’ve also said goodbye to the vast majority of our Puffins.

Our Puffins are now moving into the North Sea for the winter and will not return to land until  next March (so that’s eight months sitting on the sea!) Regardless of conditions or strength of wind or even temperatures, these birds will ride out the storms on the sea. The majority of our Puffins remain in the North Sea although small numbers infiltrate the Atlantic (there have been recoveries of birds as far across as Newfoundland in Canada). Its impressive stuff considering they weigh approximately 450grams (roughly the same as a loaf of bread) but sit it out on the sea.

However it’s in the design of the Puffin that tells you all you need to know. Puffins are hardy, compact birds, designed more for life at sea rather than land. As true pelagic birds they actually find land as the alien habitat and so a few storms during the winter don’t trouble them too much. So the next time you are bemoaning the weather, just think of those Puffins out at sea bobbing along….and be thankful they are away, dispersed from colonies and the threat of bird flu. It’s been an interesting summer and we are all just relieved to see the back of it.

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