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Crisis Puffins in Mini Comeback

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Crisis Puffins in Mini Comeback

Puffins in Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Four-times more pufflings have been registered in this year’s census on the Westman Islands than last year—but the puffin stock is still a long way from recovery.

The Sæheimar aquarium on the Westman Islands, off South Iceland, has registered 429 pufflings (puffin chicks) this year, compared to 99 at this time last year and 30 the year before.

These figures are all considerably lower than 2012, when 800 pufflings were counted, weighed and assessed.

Puffin nesting on the Westman Islands, the world’s largest Atlantic puffin colony, has been catastrophically low for over a decade due to several factors, including a collapse in the sand eel stock, RÚV reported.

According to Sæheimar, this year’s heaviest puffling was 318 grams and was found at the Eiðið gravel isthmus. Residents who find pufflings under 230 grams are asked to feed them up for a few days before releasing them.

The Westman Islands are famous for their millions of nesting puffins and their many thousands of chicks—though not in the last decade. However, as the puffin is a relatively long-lived bird, there is hope of a recovery—especially if next year’s brood could be four-times bigger than this year’s…

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