A few days ago, we were in the puffin colony “grubbing” for puffin chicks, i.e. squishing our bodies into uncomfortable positions between rocks to get chicks out of their burrows in order to put shiny metal bands on their legs. While we were grubbing, we had a chance encounter with one of the adult puffins from the burrow cam burrow, so we took the opportunity to band one of Pal’s parents. We put a band on each leg, one is a BBL (Bird Banding Laboratory) band, with a unique nine digit number, kind of like a social security number, the other is a field-readable band with two letters and two numbers. These bands will allow us to identify the bird out in the field. We also took measurements of the bird, including wing length, weight, and some bill measurements, which provide useful data on the fitness of the bird.
Images: This is what Pal’s parent looks like up close
-Julia Gulka, Seal Island Research Supervisor