Maine USA Map Of Europe


If not the world’s cutest bird, puffins are certainly in the running. Round, black backed, and white chested, with wings barely long enough to propel their cannon ball bodies through the air. they sport large beaks with geometric patterns of red, yellow, orange, and black.

Puffins resemble penguins somewhat, but are actually in the auk familv. They swim like penguins too, with those short wings outstretched underwater. Their waterproof feathers keep them warm all winter while they dive up to 200 feet seeking prey such as herring and hake. The birds average 10 inches tall, and their stubby w ings can flap up to 400 times a minute allowing a puffin to reach flying speeds of 55 miles per hour.

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Nicknames for puffins include “clown of the sea” and “sea parrot.” Their scientific name, Fratercula arctica, means “little brother of the north.” supposedly because their col oring resembles the dress of certain monks.

Puffin watching boat tours are avail able to Machias Seal Island from Cutler in Maine and from Grand Manan Island. New Brunswick. It’s the only island where puffin watchers mav go ashore, and only about fifteen people are allowed on the island at one time, so booking far ahead is suggested, Regulations are enforced by a Canadian wildlife warden. Landings on the island are often not possible due to weather conditions in the Bay of Fundy, and getting ashore can be difficult anv time.

Tours to Eastern Egg Rock leave from Boothbay, New Harbor, and Port Clyde. Some cruises have Audubon specialists on board to give you a more enriching experience. The best times to watch puffins are June and |ulv v\ hen they are hatching eggs and feeding chicks. Other islands do not have regular puffin tours. if you don’t want to risk seasickness or a canceled tour due to weather conditions, a visit to Audubon’s Project Puffin Visitor Center might be in order. Located at 311 Main Steel in Rockland. Project Puffin has inter active exhibits, videos, lectures, all kinds of information about puffins, and a gift shop.

Once native to Maine, Atlantic puffins were nearly wiped out by early settlers who over-hunted them for food and feathers. In 1973, the effort to restore puffins began on Eastern Egg Rock. Chicks were lj{ transplanted from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island and were banded so they could be recognized if they returned to raise chicks of their own. Finally, in 1981 Project Puffin saw its first chick hatched on the island in a century.

From 1984 to 1989, a similar transplant project took place on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, and in 1992, the puffins recolonized Seal Island.

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