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Get ready for puffin therapy

February 2, 2020

In around two months time, thousands of puffins will be heading to Lunga & Staffa on the Treshnish Isles to breed. This is one of the most delightful wildlife experiences in the Hebrides, especially as the puffins are not at all shy and can be seen at close quarters. There is a theory that the puffins are aware that predators such as skuas and gulls keep away when humans are around, and that is why they are so unafraid of people. But do be sure not to get too near the puffins; it is best to let the puffins come to you, and very important not to lean on their burrows at the top of the cliffs and potentially trap puffins inside.

So the puffins will be arriving soon, but where have they been?  Once they leave their nests in early August, the seabirds head for the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean where they will spend their entire time at sea during the winter months. When people see puffins for the first time they are often surprised at how small they are, weighing only around 400gm. During the winter, puffins moult their wing feathers - it is amazing that such small birds survive bobbing on the surface of the ocean during the winter storms, unable to fly.

If you want to see the puffins this year, there are boat trips available from Fionnphort Pier. See our page which has information on boat trips to the islands

Here are some more interesting facts about puffins:

  • Puffins pair for life and they can live for over 30 years
  • The female puffins lays one egg each year and both parents incubate the egg
  • Puffins chicks, called pufflings are mainly fed sandeels
  • During the winter when the birds are on the surface of the Atlantic, puffins tuck their feet into their plumage