July 28, 2023
They Went That-a-Way
- as seen by -Leslie Scopes Anderson
On a secluded island in the St. Lawrence Seaway, a colony of Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) nests every year. This area between Canada and the United States has many places with cliffs rising from the sea that are perfect for puffins. There were more than 100 burrow nests on this small island where we could watch the antics of these charming birds.
Atlantic puffins occur across the North Atlantic from Canada to Norway and south to Spain according to Cornell’s All About Birds. They are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Among the threats to these recognizable birds are food supply, pollution including plastic, and other human causes like oil spills.
Both members of a pair dig their burrow and line it with grasses. They tend to return to the same nest every year and renew their pair bond by rubbing their colorful beaks together. Puffins dive for fish in the open ocean, using their small wings as powerful flippers.
This pair looked as if it was having a discussion about where the best fishing might be today.