Let’s meet our pretty puffin friends. These are one of our favourite seabirds. In England, the are mostly found in the north, one of England’s favourite seabirds. They are mostly found in the North, especially around the Farne Islands (the favourite wildlife spot of Sir David Attenborough). They are also found extensively with our Welsh friends, on the Isle of Anglesey.
The Seabird’s Cry looks at the full story of our seabirds, and the threats they face. Adam follows seabirds to the coasts and islands of Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Americas. Beautifully illustrated by Kate Boxer, this is a celebration of the only creatures at home in the air, on land and on the sea. Seabird numbers have dropped by two-thirds since 1950. Extinction stalks the ocean, and there is a danger that our seabirds will get lost.
Often called ‘sea parrots’ (their grey beaks turn bright orange in warmer weather to attract a mate), they are small birds, with black and white feathers. They are fast flyers, but spend most of their time in the sea. They love swimming (and even rest on the water, when not moving). They love fish and sand eels, and spend most time underwater, looking for food.
Puffin spend most of their time catching fish, so never disturb them if you see them, they are likely carrying food to their young. They have unique tongues that are mostly flesh, but have a bit that is very coarse, that can grab the slippery fish to stop it getting lost, while flying back to the nest.
Puffins often mate with the same bird for up to 20 years, and come together in the thousands at breeding time. They dig little recesses to keep the ‘pufflings’ safe. Puffins do have natural predators, including seagulls. But their main risk is from humans: over-fishing and oil pollution.
Puffins are also found on Fair Isle (Scotland’s most remote inhabited island). You’ve likely heard the name on the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast: Fair Isle, Northwest 5 to 7, occasional gale 8 at first etc. Rough or very rough. Showers, rain later‘. Don’t come here for a summer holiday!
The Puffin Keeper is a story of a life-changing friendship, a lost puffin and a lonely artist. Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Benji Davies offer a beautiful tale for all ages. After the lighthouse keeper rescues 30 people from a terrible shipwreck, the little boy he rescues travels to southwest England, where he finds an injured puffin, and nurses him back to health. The puffin returns and brings others with him. By the time the young man returns from the war he could not avoid – the island and Ben have become a sanctuary for these characterful birds.