Wild Harris

Puffin

Puffin 1 CReddick.jpgPuffin    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

With their colourful beak and red ring around the eye, the puffin looks a bit like a clown. They have a chubby body and small wings which have to flap very fast to carry the puffin out of the water and up to the grassy slopes where it nests.

Puffin 3 CReddick.jpgPuffin    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The nests are built in burrows in the ground. The puffins come ashore in spring to dig out the burrow, so that the female can lay her egg in it. The puffin makes a strange groaning sound when it is down its burrow. When the chick hatches it is black and fluffy.

Puffin 2 CReddick.jpgPuffin    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The puffins fly from their nests on the steep grassy slopes down to the sea to feed. They dive underwater looking for sandeels. Look how many this puffin has managed to catch and hold all together in its beak.

They can live for a long time – the oldest puffin in the world was found on the Shiant Isles in Harris and that was 34 years old.

by Alison Tyler