Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica):

"The Atlantic Puffin (formerly the Common Puffin) is a small, pigeon-sized seabird which lives on the open ocean throughout the majority of the year, breeding in colonies on northern seacoasts and rocky islands from April to mid-August. Puffins lay one egg that is incubated in turn by each adult for approximately 39-43 days. The adults feed the chick fish for approximately 45 days, although that period may be considerably longer depending on the quality of the fishing resources nearby, after which time the puffling is large enough to fledge (leave) the nest.

Puffins live at sea and are well adapted to this lifestyle. They are excellent swimmers, using their wings to essentially ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet to control direction. They hunt a variety of small fish including herring, hake, capelin and sand lance. Puffins do not come to land outside of the breeding season, flying, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather.

The Atlantic Puffin is the only species of puffin found on the Atlantic coast. The other species of puffin, of which there are three, occur only in the Pacific."

-from Project Puffin.

I love their Latin name, which means "Little Friar." Puffins also go by such names as "sea parrots" and "clowns of the sea." The Irish Gaelic word for Puffin (Albanach) is "Scotsman" or "Presbyterian," no doubt due to their comically solemn expressions.

And, yes, they do sound like this. Kind of like chainsaws in the mist. Was very difficult to keep from laughing out loud when confronted with the combination of silly sight and sound in the blind. I managed to bite my lip, though, thank heavens.

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