Posts tagged puffin

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

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

2 Notes

These two pictures bring to light some major problems we see regularly as field researchers.  Negative human impact on our beautiful seabirds is a real and ever present danger these creatures face.  If/when we can step in to intervene on such horrors, we do, but more often than not the birds will not allow us close enough to help which was the case with this unfortunate puffin that got entangled in the balloon string.  The second picture I took while doing a puffin feeding study and didn’t notice the hook at the very end of the beak until I was reviewing the pictures later.  Knowing that beak full of fish was intended for an adorable puffling broke our hearts.  If this grim post can succeed in helping us to learn and spread the word about not littering, being vigilant about cleaning up our waste, not purchasing harmful objects (like balloons) that do not biodegrade and end up weekly on the shores of our island and generally attempting to reduce our impact on the planet, than it is worth it.  Please help us to spread the word and take positive steps toward helping the earth that does so much for us, and the animals we all hold dear.

-Nicole Passeri, Seal Island Research Assistant

Posted 1 day ago

5 Notes

This morning, I got up at 4:00 and headed out to the Darning Blind for the first three hour stint of a 15 hour Puffin feeding rate study, one that is new for us this season. In order to better understand how frequently the chicks are being fed, we are taking shifts for this all-day study to record the times that the puffins fly into their burrows, which burrows they are, and whether or not they are bringing food. Sitting in the blind watching the sun slowly emerge from the horizon, lighting up the rocky landscape around me, I felt lucky to be able to witness these awesome seabirds rocket across the shore with bills full of hake and sandlance. Their recognizably deep, buzz-like calls bellowing from beneath the rocks, the ground seem to come alive with puffins as the dawn turned to day, and hungry chicks waiting below were receiving their breakfast. -Max, Seal Island Research Assistant

This morning, I got up at 4:00 and headed out to the Darning Blind for the first three hour stint of a 15 hour Puffin feeding rate study, one that is new for us this season. In order to better understand how frequently the chicks are being fed, we are taking shifts for this all-day study to record the times that the puffins fly into their burrows, which burrows they are, and whether or not they are bringing food.

Sitting in the blind watching the sun slowly emerge from the horizon, lighting up the rocky landscape around me, I felt lucky to be able to witness these awesome seabirds rocket across the shore with bills full of hake and sandlance. Their recognizably deep, buzz-like calls bellowing from beneath the rocks, the ground seem to come alive with puffins as the dawn turned to day, and hungry chicks waiting below were receiving their breakfast.

-Max, Seal Island Research Assistant

Posted 1 week ago

3 Notes

Top: Puffins rest on the rocks after bringing in food for their chicks.

Bottom: This puffin brought in some huge sandlance.

-Edward Jenkins, Seal Island Research Supervisor

Posted 1 week ago

10 Notes

Don’t mess with another puffin’s burrow!  A young adult male, searching for a future nest inflames the fighting instincts of a protective puffin parent.  The ensuing scuffle is one for the ages.  Watch the highlights in this video: http://youtu.be/w8ypnu5ddxg

Posted 2 weeks ago

3 Notes