Inside:  Puffins are amazing creatures. You’ll want to know all the puffin facts you can find. Then visit Newfoundland and be part of the Puffin Patrol to learn more.

Why Puffins Are Amazing Creatures

There are hundreds of puffin facts.  Puffins are super interesting birds.  My trip to Newfoundland was so special because I was able to handle a baby puffin and release it back to safety on an ocean boat cruise aboard the Molly Bawn.  Along the Avalon Peninsula in the Witless Bay area they have a Puffin Patrol program.  Read more about this very important program in my post that details how to see those pufflings up close.  The Puffin Patrol saves hundreds of baby puffins from death by hunger and car strikes each year.

The sweet baby puffin I was able to handle did not have the colorful bill of its parents. Even the parents, however, are not so colorful outside of breeding season.  Like the goldfinches that come to my birdfeeder, they use bright color only during those times they need to attract mates. Even though it lacked bright coloring, that little baby puffin was so soft and had that puffy look that gave these birds their name.

Because of my amazing experience, I wanted to learn all I could about these adorable birds.  The following are the most interesting puffin facts I could find.

23 Most Interesting Puffin Facts

  1. Puffins are most comfortable in water and live on the ocean for most of their lives.
  2. They are found along the eastern coast of Canada and northeastern coast of the US, to the western coast of Europe and northern Russia.
  3. Atlantic Puffins can dive as deep as 60 meters or 200 feet..
  4. While swimming under water they use their wings to move forward and their big feet to steer.
  5. Otherwise they swim on the surface of the water like ducks.
  6. They cannot glide.  They must constantly beat their wings about 300 to 400 beats per minute to stay in the air.
  7. Puffins fly at speeds up to 55mph.
  8. Most puffins are not great at landing often tripping over their own feet.
  9. They are the official bird of Newfoundland Labrador.
  10. Although most of their dives for food last about 20 to 30 seconds, they can last for up to a minute under water.
  11. They spend the first 4 or 5 years of life on the open ocean until they reach sexual maturity.
  12. They only come to land to breed.
  13. Each year a female lays one egg.
  14. Both parents incubate the egg.
  15. The female lays their egg in a burrow dug out by both birds about an arm’s length deep.
  16. Puffins tend to mate for life.
  17. Baby puffins are called pufflings.
  18. They have a long lifespan for birds living about 20 years in the wild.
  19. They are known as the ‘clowns of the sea’ or ‘sea parrots’ because of their brightly colored beaks.
  20. Puffins got their name from the puffiness of their chicks.
  21. A group of puffins is know by various names: ‘burrow’,’ circus’, ‘colony’, ‘improbability’, ‘puffinry’ of puffins.
  22. Big, big fans of sushi.
  23. Puffins are contradictory: they live alone on the sea for 8 months but then become very social when they come ashore in June to breed living in jam-packed colonies.

If you ever, ever get the chance, take what you have learned about Atlantic puffins from this post and go to Iceland, or Maine or my personal favorite Newfoundland and see puffins up close and personal for yourself.  The experience of holding a puffy, soft baby puffin in your hands and releasing it back to the safety of the ocean will not disappoint.  I promise.

A group of puffins is known by various names including an ‘improbability’ of puffins. Click To Tweet


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