The Puffin video clips alone make today’s post worth checking out. While doing so, you will learn that Puffins are in trouble. They are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “vulnerable” which means that they have a high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. A recent New York times article here gives some of the reasons: over fishing, hunting, pollution and climate change.
The article gives a fascinating look at Puffin research (and researchers) which includes two locations in Iceland. There are lots of ticks, 60 kilometer an hour winds, and sometimes copious amounts of Puffin poop down one’s leg.
Puffins are small birds, 12.5 inches long (about the size of a Morning Dove) and heavy for their length. This makes them poor fliers at low speeds as can be seen when they crash in for a landing.
Climate change raises its ugly head, again, in Puffin ecology. They depend on a small fish called a Sand Eel for raising their young, and even small changes in water temperature can adversely effect the Sand Eel populations. This means that the parents have to go farther to get Sand Eels and this costs them more energy. Ultimately this means that the chicks are not as well fed and this reduces their survival rate.
The pictures in this post are from a Puffin colony in Newfoundland, taken in August 2013.
Read the article, here, it’s worth it for the video clips alone.