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Snapshot by CamOp MG

Snapshot by CamOp MG

Puffin Live Chat Recap

Below is the recap of the Puffin Live Chat with Steve Kress on August 3rd. We would like to personally thank Robinette for taking the time to transcribe the live chat for our hearing impaired viewers. Thank you, Robinette!

Puffin Live Chat With Stephen Kress 3 August 2017

Transcribed by Robinette

 Editor’s Note: Has been condensed/edited for clarity 

Hello everybody, sorry for the delay in greeting you… [I’m here] to answer your questions about puffins and ospreys; if you have questions, I’m happy to answer it. This is Steve Kress, I’m Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and the Hog Island Audubon Camp, and I’m in Maine right now within sight of Hog Island and an extended view of the open ocean, the domain of the puffins. So as I see questions presented to me I will answer them. Thank you for being on this call!

So I’ll give you a sort of brief overview of sort of where we are at right now with the puffin season. It is the peak of the nesting season for the puffins. Some of the puffins have already started to fledge from their nests; they are heading out into the north Atlantic. We’ve learned from previous studies of tracking the puffins that after the end of the season they head up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and once they are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they’re out on the water and they are diving for little fish and spend about the first month or two up in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence before they head south to the edge of the continental ridge, about 150 miles south of Cape Cod. They spend the rest of the winter in the Gulf of Maine off and at the edge of the continental shelf. It’s out there that they feed on small fish and crustaceans. Some of them are out in the new coral canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument. But the ones that are still back on land are busy still feeding their chicks. This has been an excellent year for the puffins on our seabird nesting islands in Maine, because they are bringing back lots of little fish. It takes a lot of little fish. We believe it takes over 2,000 small little fish to raise each puffin chick. Not just any fish will do; their favorites are Atlantic herring, white hake, sand lance—those are the three favorites, but they have others as well and this year we are seeing a lot of Atlantic herring coming in, especially…

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…But it’s interesting that each island has its own nesting population and each of these populations feed their chicks on a separate meal. Last year, a not very good year, some of the puffin colonies, the little colony on eastern Egg Rock, survived feeding its young largely on Canadian red fish. This year at eastern Egg Rock, the diet is split mostly between white hake and haddock. Haddock is an emerging food for puffins on the Maine coast—it’s also a favorite food for people. It is of course the common ingredient in fish and chips; but it’s also—when it’s the little haddock that are only two to three inches long— at that stage they are just the right size for a puffin chick to swallow. We’re seeing a lot of haddock showing up in addition to herring. Herring is the preferred food and we think maybe the puffins even select it from other kinds of food… because it is the right size, the right shape, but most importantly it has a high fat content and that’s what helps the little puffins grow rapidly. Fish is an excellent protein source for growing new feathers and body of the chicks, so birds prefer to feed fish over other kinds of foods like shrimps and other crustaceans.

If you have questions, please send them in to explore.org, and I’m happy to answer any questions that come in.

When there’s plenty of food that puffins bring to their chicks we know that the chicks grow rapidly in their burrow. It takes about 42 days from the time that a puffin chick hatches to the time it leaves. So that would mean that this year, most of the puffins should be gone by the middle of August. So we have about two more weeks left of puffin watching. We’re very pleased this year, we have a puffin in our burrow with a camera. This is a burrow that has got a camera in it.

Just checking to see if there are any questions. There are a few questions out here so let’s just see what we’ve got here. So people are submitting questions on Explore so here we go. Here’s the first question that I’ll answer:

Scientifically, what is new in the puffin world? Where would be good places to read up and stay updated about puffin research?

I think that worldwide, the thing that is most new and most pressing about puffins is the use of seabirds as indicators of the health of the environment. We have published a number of papers on that, some in peer-reviewed journals just recently. So I would suggest that to read up more about these things, one of the best places to find it is on the Project Puffin website. And if you go to ProjectPuffin.org and look on our home page, you’ll see a link to recent articles and papers and that’s a great source. We publish annually the Egg Rock update which gives some of the summaries from our newsletter, and if you’re not already signed up for this then you can sign up on the Explore channel right where it says “join our group” and you’ll get weekly updates. As far as the research goes, that’s a good place to find it. Food is the reason for a lot of this research because…

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…the catch of the day. Let’s see, what other questions have we got here.

How do the puffins get access to fresh water, or does the fish diet provide needed water? What about pufflings?

Puffins, like most seabirds, have what’s called a nasal salt gland. This is a gland that’s located in a special depression in the skull right over the eyes. Most seabirds have this gland called nasal salt gland, and blood passes through this, and from the blood the birds extract salt, the salty brine is then conducted to the nostrils and it dribbles out of the nostrils, reducing the salt in the puffin’s bloodstream in that way. So they can drink saltwater and pass the blood through this salt gland and that extracts the excess salt. And puffin chicks do the same thing.

Here’s another question:

Do puffins make more noises than the “chainsaw” sound?

The chainsaw sound—and if you’re not familiar with that, it sounds sort of like this <demonstration that sounds exactly like the puffin growl> It’s given by both the male and the female. Its function probably has to do with mate recognition so that if a puffin is underground, and an approaching mate wants to show that it is a mate and not some intruder, it will call, and often it is answered by another bird, so they often will go back and forth having these conversations. Probably for recognition, but there may be a lot more to it. We don’t really know all the things they’re probably talking about—that’s probably the best interpretation I can give you for that sound. Chicks have their own calls, they have a kind of a hunger call <demonstration> and then they have a distress call when they’re really hungry <demonstration> like that and you can often hear that coming from a burrow. Fortunately on a good food year like this year, we don’t hear that distress call at all. But that’s one of the signals we have when we think that puffins are not getting enough food.

Here’s another question…

I saw some head jerking on the loafing ledge. Is this body language meaning they are ready to depart?

Head jerking can have different functions. It can be something that a mated pair will do with each other, but it also can be kind of a threat. We see it sometimes in the burrow cam, if an intruder is getting close, you may see head jerking up and down. And you may see them going back and forth, like they’re making a “no” motion as if to say, “no way are you going to get in here.” That’s a sideways head flagging behavior. The head jerking we often see is a kind of a display if another bird is getting too close to it on the rock.

Do people have the same banding system for puffins on Machias Seal Island?

At Machias Seal Island they are using metal bands with field readable numbers, very similar to the bands that we use. Field readables use a combination of letters and numerals that are unique to each puffin so you can read them at a distance. They may be repeated… twice on each band.

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…show up at Machias, do they share the information with you and vice versa?

Yes. There are researchers there employed by the University of New Brunswick. They spend a full summer there and all of their puffin data is entered into the same puffin database that we use for Project Puffin. So we would learn if a puffin from a Project Puffin island goes up to Machias Seal, and they do. We’ve seen that since the beginning of the project.

Here’s another question:

How long after fledging will parents stay with the baby?

Typically the parents do not stay with the baby—the puffin chick, the puffling—after it fledges. It fledges at night by itself without the adults. The adults stay back at the burrow. So the chick is on its own at sea. That’s why it is so important that the chick gets enough food and builds up a lot of body weight, body mass. That’s why it’s important that it puts on extra fat so when it heads off to sea by itself, it’s got some reserves to draw on.

Do parents recognize and/or interact with their grown-up babies if the young return to nest in the same area?

That’s an interesting question, and I don’t think we really have very much information about that at all—whether they recognize their young from a previous year—but young ones often do show up back in the same vicinity as their parents’ burrow, so it’s quite likely that they would see each other. But we’ve never seen any reason to believe that there’s any special interaction between adults and their grown-up young ones. But they may nest right near their young because that’s the area they remember.

Going back to this other question about the chick heading off to sea without the parents… the reason that occurs—probably, it’s my hunch—is that the parents stay back in the burrow to guard the burrow in the late summer from intruders that might take over the burrow if they weren’t there. Because if the parents were to both leave, young puffins might show up, might set up shop, might even build a nest in the burrow, and then when the parents came back the next year the burrow wouldn’t be available.

Another question:

Can you tell us briefly about the original Conrad who this year’s puffling is named after?

I’d be happy to. His full name was Conrad Field, a young college-age biologist like most of our research assistants these days. Conrad lived on the island, not in the very first year; but soon after the project started. He returned about four summers. He helped us feed the chicks, and he helped us chase off predators, because back in those days there were a lot more gulls there than we have today. Conrad was a great help to the project in feeding chicks and chasing off gulls.

The need to have our interns on the island is still necessary in part because if we weren’t there gulls would be quick to land on the island, and if gulls are landing and sitting on the rocks then the smaller seabirds like puffins and terns will start avoiding it, because some of the gulls are active predators on puffins and terns. So the importance of staying on the island continues.

Here’s another question:

Is there an official release with Conrad’s statistics and maybe even some pictures?

I think you’re probably referring to Conrad the puffin…

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…those have not been released yet, we can post those. Yes. That’s such a good question and a great idea.

How do the parents get Conrad to leave the nest? How long does it normally take?

There’s a misconception about this point. The misconception is that puffin chicks are somehow lured out of the nest or even starved out of the nest by the parents, but it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. In fact, when the chick is physically mature enough to leave the nest it will get very energized, it will start pacing around in the burrow, it will start coming out of the burrow and exercising during the day, it will do the same at night. And then during those days it loses interest in feeding, it doesn’t give the begging or feeding calls at all, until finally it comes out of the burrow at night and walks down to the ocean, hops, bounces, leaps into the surf and paddles off to sea. Meanwhile the parents are back at the burrow. They are not trying to lure the chick out. This is all a question of the chick being physically ready and mature enough to leave. The age that they leave depends on their body weight. It depends on age as well, but the age varies depending upon their condition. If the chicks are too lightweight they’re probably not going to survive at sea, so they tend to stay in the burrow longer. I think over time there’s been selection to stay in the burrow with the hope that the fishing prospects will improve where the parents can top off the food supply for the chick so the chick can leave with a full stomach and with some fat reserves. We have demonstrated, by looking at return rates, that chicks that leave the island underweight have a lower chance of returning than chicks that leave with a heavy body condition, so it’s really important. And even if they may stay in there… normally they stay in there like 42 days, [but] they may stay in to be 60 days old, waiting for the fishing to improve. If it doesn’t improve they’ll probably leave anyway and just take their chances at sea.

There is another question:

When Conrad disperses, will he be alone or will there be other young puffins with him?

I wish I knew that, that would be great to know! So far we have not been able to track even where the little puffins go. It’s likely they go where the adults go; but we don’t know that for sure. And we don’t know if Conrad will be with other puffins or not, there’s just no way to know that. The tracking devices that puffins will tolerate are very limited. Only small little devices of a few grams that you can attach to a leg band and then later recover the bird later could give us that answer. So far we’ve only put those on breeding adults that are likely to come back to the same burrow the following year. There would be little chance of recovering a device if you put one on Conrad, and I would be reluctant to put a tracking device on a young bird anyway because we don’t want to do anything that might compromise its ability to survive at sea. It’s a huge challenge to survive at sea, from predators, to get enough food while you still have enough fat reserves and body stamina to be fishing. Predators have a hard go of it and young puffins, likewise, have to catch food within a few days of leaving the island or they are just going to get too weak. In a year when the water is warm and the sea surface is warm, the little fish move deeper and that makes it even more energetically difficult for young puffins to get a good meal.

Will Conrad develop the same beak coloring as its parents?

Yep, but not right away. Conrad will have that little black beak for its first year. By next summer it will get a little bit of orange at the base of the beak; but it doesn’t look a lot like an adult puffin at all. It will take another full year before Conrad will get the rainbow-colored beaks of its parents.

I don’t see any other questions…

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… So its beak will look functionally like an adult beak; but it will be smaller and will not have as many ridges in the beak. Puffins get more ridges in the upper mandible and lower part of the beak as they get older. As a two-year-old it won’t have that.

Another question:

I notice Willy, who is banded, had a larger bum than Billy, unbanded. Could this be an indication as to sex?

I don’t think so; but the male puffins do have a larger bill than the females, and if you see the two of them in the burrow together, the one with the bigger more massive head and longer higher beak would be the male. I don’t think we’re going to be sure about that until we’re able to have both birds banded and then compare, and even then there is overlap. If one of them has a lot bigger build than the other one then that will be the male. Males tend to be a little heavier also.

It seems burrow rocks shift from year to year and the puffins will dig the entrances out a bit at the start of the season. How stable are the burrow rocks and is it a problem for the researchers as they walk around?

Notice that those rocks on Seal Island, those boulders in which our puffins are nesting have rounded edges and that means that they’ve been exposed to waves. It’s not uncommon for us to find rocks moved over the course of the winter. It doesn’t happen during the summer because the waves don’t usually get that high; but over the winter there are larger waves, they’re often wind-driven and the combination of extreme weather and high tides can actually lift up the rocks. There are places on Seal Island and on Matinicus Rock with clearly chunks of the native bedrock lifted up way into the middle of the island. These must have been remarkable waves that lifted these huge rocks, each weighing tons, from the edge of the island up to the middle of the island. So how stable are the burrow rocks and is it a problem for the researchers as they walk around? They do have to be careful—very careful—because the rocks can tilt, they can wobble, and you can easily slip down with your leg between a rock crevice, so this is one of the challenges of working on the island.

Has there been any sighting of Hope?

Not to my knowledge, I have not heard of any sightings of little Hope yet, but we’re hopeful, and hopefully we will eventually get some sightings.

Please comment on 2014’s Pal return to the area around Burrow 59. What can you tell us?

I can only say that was a great sighting. I’m not too surprised that the Pal would return to the same area because as I mentioned earlier; that’s what often happens. Young puffins return, not just to the island where they hatched, but they may return to the [same] actual area of the island. And if they can find a vacant burrow, they may nest near the place that they hatched. If you think about that and why that would be, it’s just that it makes sense for a puffin to return to the island where it hatched, because the conditions were suitable that led it to successful fledging, so those conditions could lead to the bird breeding successfully itself rather than risking going off and starting a new colony somewhere else or joining some other island.

Has anyone seen Finn or Phoebe?

I don’t know if they’ve been sighted yet this year.

Dr. K, what is the status of the new coral canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument?

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…protected area; but it is one of many monuments that were established during the last several administrations that are now up for review. Regarding this particular place, I know the last I heard a couple of weeks ago that there were no fewer than 2.7 million people have written Secretary Zinke to keep this important place. To me this is very exciting because it shows how many people care. And that’s one of the reasons we have these cams is to encourage people to care and to understand. We can often do it better by seeing individual birds like Conrad, knowing that we want to protect it, not just during its nesting phase, but when it’s at sea as well. We are fortunate to now know where the puffins go, but we want to make sure we keep their winter habitat safe as well as their summer nesting places.

I want to know if you have had a chance to weigh the guillemot chicks. How is the weight of the smaller one in comparison to the older one as it appears there is a possibility both may fledge this year?

This has been a good year for food for the chicks, guillemots as well as puffins, so we, too, are very hopeful that they will fledge. These birds are being weighed and last I heard the weights were normal for both these chicks; so I, too, am hoping both chicks will fledge this year.

What causes a puffin’s beak to be such vibrant colors? Also, when do pufflings begin to develop their colors?

Wow! These are really good questions! Thank you! Well, the puffins’ beaks are brightly colored probably for several reasons. One would be that the beak’s color indicates age. Not just the beak color, but the number of ridges and grooves on the beak indicates age. So that’s one reason why it’s colorful. Remember even a little chick, even a one-year-old bird, far from reproductive age, has a gray beak. Puffins don’t breed until they are five; but they get their bright colors when they are in their second full summer. So the reason for that, probably, is that they’re beginning to look for mates. In birds, the bright colors, and I would think that puffins likewise have bright colors for this reason, and that is that they can show off their health, their stamina, to prospective mates. In species where the male and female look alike, that to me suggests that there’s messaging going on from both sexes to pick a mate that is healthy, and one of the best measures of health is bright colors, because that reflects the diet of the birds. Eating crustaceans may have a lot to do with getting the bright colors on the puffin’s beak, just as bright colors on the flamingo’s feathers come from eating crustaceans [that] are high in carotene pigment.

What is the biggest challenge being the director for Project Puffin?

Well, the biggest challenge for me is trying to figure out how to sustain this project for the long term. We know what we need to do, we know it’s important to put out research assistants on the islands to protect the birds from predators and to use those observers to gather data that can tell us and inform us about climate change, but doing this for the long term is going to be necessary, because if we weren’t out on those islands, if we weren’t protecting them from predatory gulls and from raptors such as bald eagles, probably the puffins would disappear from these islands and so too would the terns… and we would be back to a condition like the islands were before we got out there. The reason why that’s important these days is because there is lots of extra food in the environment for scavenging birds such as gulls that feed behind lobster boats and winter in garbage dumps on waste that people throw out. So there’s a place…

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…experiences. What better way is there for young people to have a better education and to live among other birds, to make a difference for wildlife? Funding all of this is necessary, and most of our funding comes from private donors that care about birds and send us gifts, small gifts and larger gifts, but without them we can’t keep the interns out on the islands and we can’t continue the protection and study that is proving to be so helpful to young puffins as they grow and mature.

Are the puffin numbers decreasing or holding steady?

By and large in Maine, they are on the increase. I’m very pleased to share the news that at eastern Egg Rock this year, for example, we had a record number of puffins. We have about 170 pairs this year, 150 last year. At Seal Island, it is close to 600 pairs this year, and that appears to be a new high record there as well. But the longer view – when Project Puffin began in 1973, there was only one colony on a Maine island that was on Matinicus Rock and another colony out on Machias Seal Island. Those two colonies were the only breeding place for puffins in the whole Gulf of Maine, and now there are six colonies, six breeding places, with at least 1,200 pairs on Maine islands plus the 5,000 pairs on Machias Seal Island on the US-Canadian border. That’s great to see that increase. But it’s not that way everywhere. In Europe, the populations of puffins are rapidly declining and there are islands where they have not bred successfully for 10 years due to warming oceans. Warming oceans are part of the global climate change affecting the foods that puffins eat, causing them to swim deeper and to move further away from nesting islands, so the parent puffins in much of Europe now are having trouble finding food to feed their chicks. And that’s why puffins are now listed as Endangered in Europe and Vulnerable worldwide.

When the pufflings fledge, do the little ones immediately go to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or do they stay in the waters around Seal Island?

We don’t know anything about where the little ones go. Little puffin Conrad is going to head out with only a bird band, and it probably won’t tell us where he goes. I’m hoping we can soon develop new methods for tracking sea birds.

Why do you think there was such a drop-off in the number of Arctic and common terns on the island this year?

That’s a good question. You know the terns migrate to the southern hemisphere, so when we have a decline in the number of terns on Seal Island it could well be that there’s some problem that happened during the winter or during migration or both. But it’s true, we saw fewer terns on Seal Island, but they do move around in Maine. But we have not accounted for the decline, especially in Arctic terns, this summer, and that’s a troubling thing.

How near to they stay to one another once they leave the island and go up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence?

Well, not much is known about puffins in the winter. Even knowing where they go is a new bit of information. But I would guess that they stay in at least loose flocks out on the water because puffins are gregarious birds and even when they’re on the ocean they probably like being around others because many eyes can spot a predator coming better than being out there all by yourself. I think there’s probably safety in numbers and that’s the biggest concern that they have.

I believe that puffins mate for life. What we’re finding is that [when one dies], the other will re-mate, often the same year, even though they had that mate for decades. The urge to reproduce is strong and to leave more chicks is powerful. On the other hand, we have seen cases where we’ve had a long-term pair in which one disappears, presumably dies, and the other pair takes a year or two to find a suitable replacement. I think the take-home message from that is that it all varies. Just as people vary in every way, so do puffins vary a lot, particularly in relationship to their family and life cycles.

How does Conrad hide in the corner?

Well, Conrad is black, he’s fuzzy, so when the parents aren’t around, it’s all about hiding, because if he sat out in the open a gull could come along. Even in our protected island, they could snatch him up. So he’s got to hide back in the burrow. They can also hear other scary sounds including, probably, our researchers walking around, so hiding underground and even being underground is for their defense. Hiding in a little hidey-hole is probably helpful to give added protection.

How far is the puffin cam burrow from the ocean?

One hundred feet or so.

Would it be difficult for the puffling to navigate the rocks? Is it common for puffins to be caught by commercial fishermen as by-catch?

Well, I’ve sat out there at night and I’ve watched the puffins hop, skip, jump, bounce over the rocks and they do it quite well. They’re quite adaptable at that. So I don’t think that’s a serious problem. But they do it at night because they are safer from most predators. At night, the gulls are usually not watching and likewise eagles, so they can afford to bump and bounce around a bit because they’re doing it under the safety of darkness.

Puffins in Maine are probably not caught by fishermen; but they can be caught in gill nets outside, during their migration, for example. So that is one of the hazards puffins face. Submerged nets—so the puffins chasing fish, the little fish make it through the net, but the puffin likely would get tangled in an underwater net.

If you could comment on the guillemot chicks, the survival of the second chick this year and the fish supply?

Food supply seems to be good for guillemots as well as puffins, and because of this, that second chick this year may have a chance to make it. We’ll see. I’m glad people are rooting for it.

I’m curious about the differences in how the wings appear when the puffins are flying compared to a lot of other birds. What could you tell us about that?

Well puffins are diving birds. They use their wings extended under the water so their wings are sort of like a penguin’s wings. They don’t extend them 100% though, they’re generally out about halfway, and so they use their wings underwater like flippers, like a penguin would use its wings underwater, for propulsion. So that’s why the puffins have relatively short wings, because they are better served as flippers underwater for propulsion underwater. But they can’t get too small, obviously, because they’d be like a penguin and that means flightless, so the wings are long enough the birds can still fly. They have to flap them a lot when they’re flying because they’re relatively small wings—they can’t soar or glide like an albatross or a gull, so they have to flap a lot and that means to do that, they’ve had to develop big breast muscles that power those wings’ rapid flight and the ability to push them against the water for diving.

Do we…

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…clear from floating microplastics and all of that?

Puffins do pick up microplastics. There’s a paper that found elastic in the digestive tract of puffins; apparently elastic can break down, look like good old worms floating in the water, puffins have been known to pick that up, probably in the winter when they’re eating worms and crustaceans especially. So the plastics are becoming increasingly abundant, because plastic never goes away. Once it goes into the ocean it stays in the ocean. It may get smaller and smaller bits; but even though it may be too small for a puffin to pick it up, fish can pick it up, and it will be in the stomach of the fish and the puffin swallows the fish and still got more plastic to it.

Where do they migrate?

Well, we’ve talked about that one. They go up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence then they go down to the edge of the continental shelf off of Cape Cod.

Are the puffins we see on the rocks chicks or parents or both?

The puffins we see on the rocks are almost all adults. They may not have their own chicks. They may only be two or three years old and they don’t breed until they’re five. So there’s probably a mixture and they all look kind of similar. After [age] two, they all have orange bills.

After the adults left the island at the end of the summer, do the pairs stay together while they are on the water?

No. Well, we don’t know for sure. We don’t know about the pairs. The chicks we know leave on their own and they’re not usually with the parents.

Do you have any plans to write another book? If so will you collaborate with Derrick again?

Well. This person is referring to my book that I co-authored with Derrick Jackson Project Puffin. I don’t have any immediate plans to write another book about puffins; but I will mention that I just published a new field guide. There it is—it’s got a bluebird on the front. My wife Elissa and I wrote this book, and look what’s on the back – it’s got a puffin. That’s published by DK Pocket Guides. Thank you for asking me about books. There’s a western guide as well as an eastern guide to bird identification.

Let’s see…

Years ago I read that puffins were being decimated by gulls eating their eggs and young. Is this happening still?

It doesn’t happen so much now because we have interns on the islands that keep the gulls away. Gulls are very smart, they stay away if people are there and people chasing them away can keep them there. They learn to stay away. If we weren’t there we would have that problem again.

How far out do fledglings go into the open ocean?

You know, those are the kind of questions we just don’t know… we don’t know really where fledglings go. You’d think that a bird as common and well-studied as the puffin would be, you’d know that; but even the puffins, there’s so much that’s still not known, and that’s part of the reason why we find this work endlessly important and informative.

Will puffins be able to adapt to the changing environment and warmer waters?

That’s the big question these days. In Europe, they’re having a lot of trouble. Puffins in Norway, on some islands in Norway and southern Iceland have not bred successfully for ten years. As a result of that, those populations are in a steep decline. I’d say that those are not adapting well. Here in the Gulf of Maine, we are seeing some new fish showing up, recovering fish stocks. Actually they’re fish that were here before— they were overfished but now the populations are rebounding and puffins are finding them, offering me some hope that puffins are in fact adapting to new food supplies. But there’s a lot of chance involved in that. Butterfish is an example of a fish that is really not a great fit for a puffin. It’s a mismatch with the size of a puffin’s beak and it’s one of the fish that could move into the area, so we’ll see. But I think puffins are adaptable and they will eat whatever’s around.

So we have been at this for a while now and I think we’ve reached the end of the puffin questions and I think that we are about ready to wind this down. These are great questions. We just had 41 questions from people that really know a lot about puffins and care a lot about them and want to make a difference. I would encourage everybody that’s listening to sign up to be a cam fan to get our weekly newsletters during the summer, to hear from us occasionally other times of the year, to support Project Puffin by making a donation online to Project Puffin, consider adopting a puffin for yourself and for friends. They’re great gifts for people that have everything, and even if you don’t have everything, it’s a great gift. I hope some of you will come to the Hog Island Audubon Camp where I spend my summers with Rachel and Steve, the osprey pair, and with other adults and families and avid teen birders. The Hog Island Audubon Camp is something to check out. So thank you all for being on this chat and for caring so much about puffins. Thank you.

 

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