10. Like Clockwork
Every spring and summer, puffins return to land so that they may breed and create even more pufflings! They return each year with the same mate since they’re the loyal type that mates for life.
Instead of nests, puffins like to create burrows or use old rabbit holes to lay their eggs in. It isn’t uncommon for them to continue to use the same burrow or hole each year.
Isn’t that a fun word, “auk”? Puffins are members of the Auk family and aren’t very big in size. Most only reach up to 11 inches high as adults.
7. Life Span
Believe it or not, puffins live an average of 20 years in the wild! In captivity they have been known to live for up to 36 years, or at least, that’s the age of the longest-lived puffin in captivity.
6. Main Threats
Gulls aren’t the only threat that puffins face. Other giant threats to their population include pollution, such as oil spills – since they live the majority of their life in the sea, and overfishing. Oil spills are especially dangerous since it damages their otherwise waterproof feathers that are essential for them to live.
5. Food for Thought
The primary food for puffins is the sand eel, which is basically a small, soft little fish. If nothing else, they can also capture and eat herring.
4. Bad News
Since the sand eel is a puffin’s primary source of food, it might be bad news for them that the sand eel population seems to be reducing in numbers. It has caused some puffins to try feeding their babies alternate foods such as pipe fish, but this can cause the babies to choke as they’re too hard.
3. Not Yet in Danger
Thankfully, puffins aren’t quite in danger yet, as they’re willing to travel very long distances in order to find the food they need to survive. Even so, their numbers have also fallen rather dramatically in each country that they are found in.
2. Are They Related to Penguins?
You’d be surprised how many people think to ask this! Although they share the same familiar black and white color scheme, puffins are not related to penguins. Puffins are auks, and Penguins are not auks.
When pufflings are first born, they spend the first 45 days of their lives being attended to by their loving parents – who as we said before, abandon them after this time. After that, they spend 3-5 years at sea learning how to do what puffins do before finally returning back to land.