Annual baby puffin rescue

Happy children carrying fledgling puffins who are counted and weighed ...

Happy children carrying fledgling puffins who are counted and weighed before being released into the ocean. Photo: Sæheimar

Children of the Westman Islands are busy coming to the aid of baby puffins who have wandered out of their nesting holes and into town. This is an annual occurrence in the islands when the fledglings are trying to find their way from their nests and into the ocean. 

Puffins nest in clifftop colonies, digging a burrow in which a single egg is laid. The puffin chick, known as a puffling,  feeds on whole herring and after about six weeks the fledgling makes its way from its burrow at night towards the sea.

Many pufflings get lost along the way and are found all over the town of Vestmannaeyjar, much to the delight of the younger generations who are happy to help them out. 

The lost birds are bundled up into buckets, shoe boxes or simply scooped up into children's arms who then take them to be weighed, to check up on stocks, and then down to the seashore where they're released. 

Yesterday afternoon, a total of 1.747 pufflings had been weighed at Sæhemar in the Westman Islands, making it likely that the 2012 record of 1.830 could be beaten. 

Young puffins are greyish in colour and their beaks haven't attained the rainbow hues of the adult birds. 


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