For most bird watching enthusiast, keeping an eye out for a rare sighting is of great importance. Sighting an Atlantic Puffin is just such rare sighting
A Rare Bird Indeed For Bird Watchers – The Atlantic Puffin
Observing an Atlantic Puffin is a bird watcher’s golden egg because they are not prevalent in the world. As the name suggests, they can only be found on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and only during certain times of the year. If you are building a life list, this is a bird that will set you apart from others.
The Atlantic Puffin is a beautiful bird, a member of the Auk family of birds. A seabird, this little bird is a fisher in the ocean, often diving 50 feet or more to catch dinner. It is marked by its white lower body, which contrasts with a midnight black back and wings. The head is black topped with white around the eyes and extending to the beak. The beak is a cornucopia of sweeping colors with yellow, black and red being the dominant pigments.
This little beauty is the only member of the Puffin family of birds found in the Atlantic. It is typically found in northern reaches, from Maine up through the artic and down through northern Europe. Occasionally, the Puffin will range as far south as North Carolina on the coast of North America, but not often. For bird watcher’s in the continental United States and elsewhere, this makes the bird a sighting worth having.
The Atlantic Puffin is a bird that seems to teeter back and forth between population problems. In the 1800s, the bird was under serious pressure due to the harvesting of its eggs by humans. Coming to shore to mate in cliff outcrops, the female laid only one egg. The losses thus were substantial and the bird nearly disappeared. Recently, populations have begun to grow again, but now new threats exist. Gulls and rat populations are once again threatening the breading grounds of these exquisite birds. Conservation efforts are fighting back and populations are at least remaining steady with some studies suggesting they are actually growing at a rate of five to ten percent.
If the opportunity presents itself, a birding expedition to sight the Atlantic Puffin is definitely worth a go. The birds have a relatively small onshore territory, which makes them a fairly rare find for the avid birder.