Be on the lookout for pufflings!

Puffling

​How you can help stranded baby puffins

Graham Martin's photo

12th July 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Conservation charity, the Scottish Seabird Centre is urging people to keep an eye out for young puffins, as puffling season is now in full swing.

The centre was involved with its first rescue of the season on Tuesday, 4 July out on the Isle of May.

Boat guide James Leyden found the young puffin and sought the assistance of Michael Duarte and his daughter Cece (age 16) who were on the boat trip.

Michael said: “We traveled from California to Scotland with the goal of visiting the Isle of May so my daughter could see puffins in the wild. We could not have been more pleased by the experience, and my daughter was certainly thrilled to be able to release the puffling into the sea.”

This was shortly followed by a second rescue on the next day.

Leyden, said: “Puffins and their pufflings are now leaving their burrows not only on the Isle of May, but also Craigleith.

“After leaving their burrows some pufflings can become disorientated by lights from the mainland. Their first ever flight may see them flying into town and seeking somewhere dark to hide from predators often underneath cars and under plants in gardens.

“When we take the pufflings out to sea, we take them well away from the islands and especially the predator gulls. Both pufflings took to the water with vigour, enjoying their first dive almost immediately, which is a good sign. They then swam off into the North Sea where they will typically live for the next three years.

“We are appealing for people to be vigilant over the next 6 weeks. If you find a puffling please alert the Seabird Centre on 01620 890202 or the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.

“Pufflings look completely different from their adult counterparts, so often people don’t realise what they can see is a puffling. They are shades of grey, white and black; their smaller beaks don’t have the characteristic bright colours that the adults have in summer.”

In 2016, North Berwick Wildlife Watch have created a video with award-winning photographer Barrie Williams. The video is a step-by-step guide about what do to if someone sees a puffling and wishes to help with its rescue.

The video can be seen on the Centre’s website, YouTube channel and also in the centre.

You can see it here:

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