In Search of the Puffin, an Iconic Maine Bird

24 August 2015
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What is it about puffins that is so intriguing? Is it because they are both cute and strange looking (think a penguin with a clown mask on) at the same time and have a funny way (think Charlie Chaplin) of walking? Is it the clever way they line up a row fish on their beaks, ready to offer their young a smorgasbord?

Or perhaps it is that the only puffin habitat in the U.S. is exclusively in Maine (puffins are much more common in Iceland and Norway, Greenland), and we’re proud that, in just over 100 years, we have helped the population here surge significantly.

In 1900 there were only two Atlantic puffins known to nest in the United States, right on Maine’s barren Matinicus Rock. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 put a stop to puffins being hunted both for their prized feathers and eggs, and other more recent endeavors such as the Project Puffin Audubon Society, have helped with the great progress made on behalf of increasing the puffin population. Today, Maine provides a summer habitat for approximately 4,000 puffins each year. A long way from just 2!

Whatever the reason we find ourselves charmed by these small, odd birds, puffins are certainly rock stars here in Maine, and people have many ways to flock—pun intended—and catch the show:

Tune in to a puffin cam to watch the progress of fledglings!

Head out to Eastern Egg Rock, Matinicus Rock, Seal Island, Petit Manan and Machias Seal Island (not to be confused with the aforementioned Seal Island) on a puffin-watching cruise, where keen eyes commonly locate groups of puffins sitting in the water, nesting on the rocks, or flying by.

Eastern Egg Rock
The Hardy Boat
Cap’n Fish’s
The Monhegan Boat Line

Petit Manan
Bar Harbor Boat Tours
Bar Harbor Whale Tours
Robertson Sea Tours

Matinicus Rock & Seal Island
Matinicus Excursions
Old Quarry Ocean Adventures

Machias Seal Island
Bold Coast Charter Company
Sea Watch Tours

Follow the Maine Birding Trail and make plans to get to one of four primary islands where there is a concentrated puffin habitat.

Check out the Project Puffin Visitor Center and learn more about the efforts of Audubon and other conservation partners to restore and protect the puffins on Maine islands and beaches.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream



Maritime Maine

Thierry Bonneville, Web & Social Medias

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