It’s time to meet England’s pretty puffins! These are one of England’s favourite seabirds. They are mostly found in the North, especially around the Farne Islands (the favourite wildlife spot of Sir David Attenborough). They are also found extensively with our Welsh friends, on the Isle of Anglesey.
Often called ‘sea parrots’ (their grey beaks turn bright orange in warmer weather to attract a mate), they are small birds, with black and white feathers. They are fast flyers, but spend most of their time in the sea. They love swimming (and even rest on the water, when not moving). They love fish and sand eels, and spend most time underwater, looking for food
Puffins often mate with the same bird for up to 20 years, and come together in the thousands at breeding time. They dig little recesses to keep the ‘pufflings’ safe. Puffins do have natural predators, including seagulls. But their main risk is from humans: over-fishing and oil pollution. So never wash your car in the drive, as this causes mini oil-spills. Use a professional car wash that recycles the water, or use a waterless car wash product.
Puffins are also found on Fair Isle (Scotland’s most remote inhabited island). You’ve likely heard the name on the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast: Fair Isle, Northwest 5 to 7, occasional gale 8 at first etc. Rough or very rough. Showers, rain later‘. Don’t come here for a summer holiday!