Posted 27th Jul 2017
Image courtesy of © Mike Snelle
During the warm summer months, the comical puffin will make its home on islands and cliff tops along our coast
A handsome fellow with his glossy black dinner jacket and crisp white bib, the puffin is best known for his multi-coloured parrot-like bill, which makes him instantly recognisable. Living for 25 years or more, the endearing little male will return to the same cliff year after year to join his mate, with the pair reacquainting with a show of billing and cooing.
A puffin and his mate will make their home in a burrow up to a metre long amongst the thrift and turf. At the far end of the burrow, the couple will rear their single chick, a black ball of fluff known as a 'puffling'. The two parents will share their duties in bringing up their puffling, taking it in turns to fish, then returning on whirring wings with a beak full of sand eels. Once the season is over, the puffins will leave, heading out to the Bay of Biscay and beyond, where they spend the winter months bobbing about the rough seas.
How to do it
Book your place on a boat and head out to one of the special islands which puffins call their home. You should pack binoculars and cameras, and make sure you have plenty of time. Find a sheltered spot close to the colony, before settling and soaking up the busy atmosphere, with puffins coming and going around you.
If you're unable to get to one of the special locations listed below, you can always visit Flamborough Cliffs in Yorkshire, where puffins can be seen at their burrows close to the cliff top paths. Alderney Wildlife Trust and partners have a wonderful 'puffincam' which is focused on a puffin colony on the island of Burhou.
For a memorable day out, head to one of the alluring seabird islands that are managed by the Wildlife Trusts, and spend a day surrounded by one of the greatest shows on earth, with thousands of seabirds flying around.
Channel Islands, Alderney
Highlads, Handa Island
Pembrokeshire, Skokholm (please be aware there are no day trips to Skokholm island, only short breaks are available)
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts