Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...
This is a page about the Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica). There are other species of puffin that live in the Pacific Ocean, but this is about my buddies, the Atlantic Puffins. I've visited common puffins in Maine, Canada, Scotland and Iceland, plus horned puffins and tufted puffins in Alaska, and but I always return to my favorite place in the world - Iceland, or as we say up there Ísland (EES land). In Iceland we call puffins lundi (LOON dih) and we call the pufflings lundi pysja (LOON dih PEESH yar).
Sounds / Puffin Talk
Sites Worth a Visit & More
Games and Puzzles
Recommended Books
Kid's Made Puffin Sites
The Strangest Puffin
Puffin News
Iceland Aquarium & Museum
Puffin Video Clip
Scientific Puffin Classification Iceland
Author: (Linnaeus, 1758) Common Name:
atlantic puffin

Genus species:
Fratercula arctica

Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Subphylum : Vertebrata
Class : Aves
Order : Ciconiiformes
Family : Laridae
Genus : Fratercula
Species: arctica
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Puffin Talk
Choose "open/play" and not "save-to-disk" if asked.
Why do adult
puffins sound
different in
Iceland and

Puffin chicks, the little dark gray fluff-balls of down, stay hidden underground. You canc't see them, but you can hear them. They call out with their peep-peep-peep, telling their parents they're hungry.

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Puffins talk in their underground burrows. In Iceland they nest in the soft earth in underground tunnels. So the sound one hears them make in their soft earthen rooms is a soft growling-moaning. If you sit quietly on the grass, you'll hear them talking underground in their nest.

However in Maine, and many places in Canada, they nest in rock crevices in granite ledges. Their rooms have hard walls. Their voice reverberates off these hard rock walls so the sound one hears is more like a chain saw.

Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...
Puffin Video
Puffin Preening
To see a video clip
of these puffins preening
click the photo.
It's a 2MB QuickTime Clip
courtesy of Welsh filmmaker Rosa Baik.
Puffin News

Puffins have landed and are making homes on the second-newest island on our planet, Surtsey. It's part of the Westman Islands, or as we say up there Vestmannaeyjar, (VEST mann air). Surtsey erupted from the ocean as a volcano in November, 1963. Since then only scientists are allowed on the island to study the natural progression of life as it takes hold. As you can see from above, I often look out at Surtsey from the cliffs where I photogrpahed Nights of the Pufflings and Puffins Climb, Penguins Rhyme.

Daily News from Iceland, July 27, 2001
New Island Life
"During a three-day scientific expedition closing yesterday, biologists Sturla Fridriksson, Borgthór Magnússon and Sigmar Metúsalemsson made several important discoveries with regard to the development of life on the young island of Surtsey, near the Westman Islands. The discovery of several puffin holes have led the biologists to conclude that puffins have been migrating to the island and their report also states that a cove has been created on the north shore of the island by sea erosion."
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Great Puffin Sites I've Checked for Information and More...
Canadian Wildlife Service
This is an excellent puffin page, and though you may need to adjust the text size temporarily with you browser it’s worth it. (In Internet Explorer it’s the AA size icon at the top of the browser page of Internet Explorer and in Netscape go to the top <Edit> <Preferences> <Appearance> <Fonts>.

Puffins in Maine
According to Project Puffin's Egg Rock Update, "By summer 2000, Egg Rock puffins were at an all-time high of 35 pairs!". These were successfully reintroduced at the extreme southern puffin range. By comparison, Machias Seal Island's native colony on the Maine Canadian border has approximately 3,000 puffins each year. However, if you go further up to Newfoundland you'll find many more. But it you go up to Iceland you'll find at least six million puffins. Can you see why I scratch my head when so many people who only know of the Audubon project in Maine think that puffins are an endangered species. They are far from that.

Puffins on Machias Seal Island Maine/Canada
Neat photos. I've been on this trip and it's was great. I recommend it... if you can't get to Iceland. Note that I wrote Maine/Canada because it's on the border. It depends on the nationality of who you ask whether you're told it's a Canadian or American island. Somehow, it's unofficially worked out.

The Puffling, "Baby Puffins" on the Nights of the Pufflings island in Iceland.
This is a page on the island where the Nights of the Pufflings takes place with photos of the local children.

The Puffling Rescue with a Member of My Icelandic Puffin Tour
This shows the puffling rescue as ceen by librarian, Carol Schene, one of the tour members on my puffin tours to Iceland.

The Birds of Iceland - the puffin page
It's the puffin page with text and photos.

The puffin page at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
The original puffins for this exhibit came from the Nights of the Pufflings island, Vestmannaeyjar, in Iceland.

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Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...

Christa and Erin
(Hi Erin Button) are checking out this puffling that one of our puffling rescuers brought to Kristján Egilsson at the Aquarium and Natural History Museum. Perhaps it was too anxious to leave the nest and fly. Its head is still covered with fluffy down. Kristján, the museum's director, kept it at the museum's "puffling hotel" for a few days to mature. It was well fed with fresh fish and then released by Kristján. This museum is on the Nights of the Pufflings Island, Vestmannaeyjar.
About the Museum
Visit the Vestmannaeyjar Puffin Club

This is a fascinating home page made by the husband of the children's librarian on Vestmannaeyjar, Sigrún Jenný, and there are changing puffin photos.
Björgólfur Ingason's home page

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All About Puffins at the Audubon Project Puffin in Maine homepage
As I wrote above, I find it strange that so many people in New England think that puffins are an endangered species. They are far from endangered. This project was to establish colonies of puffins in Maine at the extreme southern range of the species. It has been successful and there are now a few hundred puffins on remote islands in Maine. Meanwhile, there are more than six million puffins in Iceland.

A white puffin in the Shetland Islands.
Strange but true. This puffin was photographed on the west cliffs of Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland in 1986 by Kevin Osborn
A normal puffin in the Shetland Islands.
Yes, most of them are normal.
About puffins in the Shetland Islands
The Shetlands are Scottish islands off the north coast.
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Ready to Play
Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...
The Nights of the Pufflings Rescue Game

Click on
to play
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Puffin JigsawPuzzles
These are online
puzzles that you
solve on-screen.

They take
just a minute
to load...
Puffin Puzzle I - 20 pieces

Puffin Puzzle II - 22 pieces

Puffin Puzzle I - 79 pieces

Puffin Puzzle II - 67 pieces

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Kid's Made Puffin Pages

Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...
Written and illustrated by a student on the Nights of the Pufflings island about the rescue. This is Halla's school.

Click on the Art to see their page

The Schools Home Page
Barnaskóli Vestmannaeyja

Email the school
They speak English too

The Puffin Alphabet Book by Mrs. Cynthia Standiferd's Third Grade Title I Class at the Bayfield (Colorado) Elementary School
My those puffins look familiar to me...
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The Night of the Pufflings
by Claire Broton
Fourth Grade, spring 2001
Elmcrest Elementary (web site)
Liverpool, New York

Here come the kids!
Here come the crowds!
Here come the birds!
Out of the clouds!

Thousands of birds,
Fall to the ground!
Oh how afraid!
The little birds sound!

The kids are all ready,
With boxes and lights,
It's the beginning,
Of the puffling nights!
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Recommended Books

In addtion to my two books
Nights of the Pufflings
Puffins Climb,
Penguins Rhyme

take a look at these... if you can find them.

Check your local library.
Can you believe they haven't gone up in their prices? Such a deal!
Bruce Note: This is a timeless book filled with great illustrations, blank-and-white ink washes, by noted illustrator Ted Lewin. It's out-of-print so you'll have to find a used copy or if your lucky at your local library. It's worth it.

Martin, Lynne. Puffin, Bird of the Open Seas. Lewin, Ted. Illustrator. New York: William Morrow and Company. 1976. ISBN 0-688-22074-6.

"Despite its comic appearance, the puffin exemplifies how a species has successfully adapted to fit a harsh environment. Drawing from observations of seabird experts, this attractive nature study gives the reader a clear, concise account of what scientists have learned about puffin behavior. Beginning with a discussion of the seabird's rigorous existence on the rough seas of its North Atlantic home; Lynne Martin traces the common puffin's life cycle from courtship and mating to nesting and the maiden flight of the fledgling made alone in the dark of night. She concludes by pointing out the ever-increasing threats that the puffin faces in the future. Strikingly handsome black-and-white wash drawings by an artist who is also a seabird enthusiast complement the informative text."
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Bruce Note: This is the best reference book on puffins, although it is out-of-print you can find it used.

Harris. M.P. The Puffin. Calton, England: T & A D Poyser, Ltd. 1984. ISBN 0-85661-038-0.

"Dr Mike Harris, of the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, is an international authority on Fratercula arctica, the Atlantic or Common Puffin, and the book reflects his great knowledge of the species. His enthusiasm for this appealing seabird is equally evident and he has succeeded in that difficult task of combining readability with scientific accuracy and detail.

All aspects of the Puffin's life style are considered as well as its current situation and the threats posed by man and his activities. Dr Harris notes that, for the present, 'the general state of Puffindom is better than at any time this century'.
Keith Brockie has contributed some fine drawings and there are over 40 maps and diagrams, plus 24 pages of photographs.

Contents: Introduction; The auks; The morphology of the Puffin; Distribution in Britain and Ireland; Monitoring of Puffin numbers; The Puffin outside Britain and Ireland; Breeding biology; Behavior; Puffins at colonies; Food and feeding; Growth of young; Predators, pirates and competitors; Man and Puffins; Migration, survival and winter at sea; Factors influencing the numbers of Puffins."
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Bruce Note: This book is out-of-print so you'll have to find a used copy, but it continues to a wealth of amusement and information.

Lockley, R.M. "Puffins." New York: The Devon-Adair Company. 1953.

"Everyone knows what a puffin looks like. The very name conjures up a smile. Yet in spite of the tameness of this sociable sea bird when ashore its nesting affairs were hidden underground, and little was known of its breeding habits until the author went to live on the island of Skokholm and began this study. In this book he presents the information he has gathered, including his recent fieldwork on puffins at other European islands. In restrained yet lyrical prose Mr. Lockley writes of his mated pairs, Frater and Cula, Limp and Loving, and the chick Lundapisa; and we are the more entertained by his account of these delightful characters and their amusingly human behavior because of the scientific caution and integrity which underlies his description of the surprising events of the puffin's year. Sixteen pages of photographs are included."
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Bruce Note: This is the best Icelandic book in English about all of Iceland's birds, including the puffin (or as we say in Iceland, lundi).

Einarsson, Þorsteinn. Guide to the Birds of Iceland. Reykjavík: Örn Og Örlygur Publishing House. 1991. ISBN 9979-55-007-4.

"This book is for all nature lovers for use both at home and in the field for easy reference. It's the first practical guide to identifying practically all Iceland's birds - the breeding species, passage visitors, seasonal visitors and the most common vagrant species. The special features of each species are highlighted simply and effectively in text and photographs.

The author has for decades been one of the most active and accomplished bird-watchers in Iceland and is known internationally for his pioneering work on seabirds. He consulted many of the most prominent ornithologists, both Icelandic and foreign, who have worked in the country, including Dr. Finnur Guðmundsson and the well-known British ornithologist James Fisher.

One-hundred-ten species are covered, almost all being illustrated with color photographs showing the varieties of plumage by sex, age and season. Standards for the book were modeled on the best-illustrated guides published abroad, the form being an innovation among identification guides. Special reduced copies of the main illustrations are used to highlight the main identification features of each species. An accurate text and copious illustration make it an aid for identifying Icelandic birds.

Other information of interest to both experienced birdwatchers and to beginners, includes a ten-language list of bird names, a map showing Iceland's major nesting cliffs and the main species to be found at each and information on protective legislation."
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Bruce Note: This a beautiful pictorial book about the Night of the Pufflings island, The Westmann Islands (or as they say, Vestmannaeyjar) You might have to order it from Iceland. I am honored to have one of the first copies signed by the mayor of Vestmannaeyjar, and another copy signed by the lighthouse keeper on the island, Óskar Jakole Sigurðsson, who has banded more puffins for study than anyone else in the world, more than 45,000.

Rúriksson, Björn. "The Westmann Islands." Reykjavík: Geoscan. 1995. ISBN 9979-56-008-8. 160 color photographs.

"This book is an attempt to examine the world of the Westmann Islanders in all their diversity and color. The Westmann Islands and their inhabitants are geographically separated from the rest of the country in a very real manner. Although not so very distant from the mainland, the Westmann Islands are, nevertheless, off the beaten track. To the outsider the Westmann Islands presents a very diverse community in which jobs and work, as well as the arts and communal activities, form a well-defined framework to a vigorous way of life. On top of all this is the outstanding natural beauty with its varied landscape and wildlife which makes the islands a popular stopping place for shorter or longer visits.

Few places are as exciting from an historical or geological point of view. The unique struggle for survival during the eruption in the winter of 1973 is unlikely to be forgotten by those who experienced it personally, or were in some way involved. As a bird watcher's paradise, the Westmann Islands enthralls nature lovers who can enjoy it in solitude or on conducted tours on land and sea with expert and informative guides."

Weeeeeeeee... flying puffins...
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