puffin face
As days pass by and we are approaching the mid of the month, our puffin season is not far away anymore. On the 15th of April we will finally start stopping by Lundey (Puffin Island) again on our “GG2 Big Whale Safari & Puffins” on our RIB speed boats.

Already these last days, we could spot some first puffin individuals in the outer parts of the bay - and it is likely that these numbers will increase a lot throughout the next days.

While being a very gregarious bird during the breeding season from late April to mid-August, where a very social life among partners and even within the whole colony is displayed, puffins are mostly solitary during the winter months, which they spend in the vastness of the North-Atlantic Ocean – without touching land for up to eight months!

Little is known where exactly our dear puffins might be going, how widely spread individuals from the same colony might be once the breeding season is over and how they navigate between their nesting grounds and their winter destinations.

Recent studies confirmed that individuals might travel quite differently far, and while some individuals will stay within a 250km radius of their colony, others travel over 1700km away. While the distance travelled through winter may vary among individuals as much as the routes taken, they seem to show a certain consistency in their individual routes over the years.

While puffins return to the same colony over and over again, normally the one they were once born into, it is unclear how they actually navigate and find back to their breeding grounds. Newly fledged puffins, so-called pufflings, often leave their nest at nighttime and head out to open sea, possibly led by the light of the moon. Leaving their nest so suddenly – and while the adults are still around the colony – means that parents are not actually teaching them their routes, implying the young bird is having to figure it out on its own – until returning to its birth place about two years later.

Remarkable is that puffins are monogamous birds, and even though the majority will be on their own throughout winter, separated from their loved one, they return to their partner in time for the next breeding season.

- Sarah

Puffins Skjalfandi Bay
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