Friday, August 15, 2014

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin
Bird Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Member of the Auks, Murres, and Puffins family
Provincial Bird of Newfoundland and Labrador
§A Puffinry of Puffins§

~true bird fact~ Puffins have small wings, so they have to beat them over 300 times per minute to stay in flight. Good thing they don't have to fly much. In fact, they are small birds overall, being usually about 10 inches tall and weighing about as much as a can of soda.

~real bird ritual~ On the Icelandic island of Heimaey, fledgling Puffins who leave their nests for the first time sometimes get lost on their way to sea, so local children take turns paroling the town at night and rescuing the Pufflings (really called this). There's a children's book about this event.

Avid readers
Likes to have the same daily schedule every day, almost compulsive about it
Favorite food- soft serve ice cream
Are serious birds, and work really hard, so please don't call them 'Clown of the Sea' or 'Little Brother of the North' or other embarrassing names. Sheesh.
Nest Details
Construction: Burrow. Often beginning as a natural indentation in the sea rock, but dug out by the puffin using his strong beak. Inside there is a narrow shaft, 2 or 3 feet long, leading to a nest lined with foliage and feathers. Puffin homes often include a separate bathroom area (!!) so that the puffin chicks don't get themselves dirty.
Location: Sheer cliff face on islands that lack terrestrial predators. In this case, Bird Island in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton. Often the only way for people to see these birds is on chartered boat tours. I pause here to briefly plug Donelda's Puffin Tours, which was overall very awesome and included lots of birds that will be making the blog in the next few weeks.
Occupants: Puffins pair off monogamously and stay in the same burrow every year. They lay only one egg each year and share parenting duties. Very traditional, puffins are.

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