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Joy is preparing to fledge.

Project Puffin’s Steve Kress Predicts Joy’s Fledge Date

Little Puffin Joy is growing up, getting her juvenile feathers and showing signs that she may exit her burrow for good, heading out to sea for the next few years. Project Puffin Founder and Director Dr. Stephen Kress makes his own educated prediction on when the chick may embark on the biggest journey of her life.

“My calculations are that Joy will enter her fledge-watch period this coming Sunday, August 9. The average fledge period is 38-44 days with 42 days being the average. She seems normal for weight and wing and plumage, so she will likely fall in this range of August 9-15 with August 12 being the most likely day. Of course she does not know anything about such statistics and will do what she will.

Behaviors that indicate that fledging is approaching include increased activity, especially at night: wing stretching, wing vibrating, pacing about the burrow. Some of this will happen outside, and she will go out and come back, usually at night, though sometimes by day. She has been doing some of this already, but viewers can expect to see more in the coming days.

There is a myth in the literature that puffins stop feeding the chick to increase its likelihood of fledging, but actually the chick loses interest (and weight) in the days just prior to fledging and does not beg for food so much from the parent. This likely leads to the parents offering less food. When Joy is ready to leave, she may even reject food because of her readiness to head to sea.”

So let’s keep an eye on the burrow, and on adorable Joy, spending as much time with her as we can until the day we say goodbye.

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