Despite there being, at last count, nearly 40,000 breeding pairs on the Farne Islands each year, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently added the puffin to its red list of endangered species. In honour of our favourite sea bird, here are 10 facts about puffins you may not have known, or might enjoy being reminded of:
- Baby puffins are called “pufflings”. If you can think of a more adorable name for a baby animal give yourself a prize!
- The British Isles holds around 10% of the world’s puffin population.
- Puffins mate for life
- Their distinctive colourful beak is actually only colourful during the breeding season! Once breeding is out of the way, the beak fades to a grey colour much like a human male putting on 2 stone after getting married.
- Puffins can reach depths of up to 60 metres when diving, and flap their wings underwater as if they are flying.
- In Iceland, puffins are hunted by humans and their meat is a local delicacy
- Puffins can expect to live for around 20 years, as long as those hungry Icelanders don’t get them.
- Each spring, female puffins lay just a single egg
- Puffins can fly at speeds reaching 55 mph. Watch out for the speed cameras, lads!
- They are often referred to as “sea parrots”. Who’s a pretty puffin then?
Puffins can generally be found nesting on the Farne Islands in their thousands from as early as mid-April until the end of July.