New for 2019. Watch live video stream from the Channel Islands of the Alderney Puffins from April to July 2019.
Alderney is a small island in the English Channel, home to just 2,000 people and a few kilometres away from France. However, just offshore of Alderney, on the tiny islet of Burhou, the UK’s most southerly Puffin population make their home. The small colony of almost 200 birds return to Alderney in April after their winter out at sea, departing with their young in late July.
The Alderney Wildlife Trust monitor the birds so we can keep track of their numbers, which have sadly been declining in recent years with a small rise in 2018. As part of this the Trust has live cameras on the birds so anyone can watch them from the moment they arrive and begin to build their burrows, to the parents birds bringing fish back and forth for the pufflings.
Fortnightly blogs on the breeding cycle of the Puffins will be posted on the See Nature and Alderney Wildlife Trust websites from April to July 2019, looking more closely at the life cycles, behaviour and conservation of these amazing birds.
So join us in 2019 and learn more about The Puffin.
Claire Thorpe – Alderney Wildlife Trust People and Wildlife Officer
About the Alderney Puffins
On Burhou the Puffins build their nests in old rabbit burrows or on the side of the cliffs. Once they have made a nest the male and female will return to the same nest every year!
Eggs are laid in the burrows in late spring/early summer. Both the male and the female take turns incubating the egg, with incubation usually taking between 36 and 45 days. Once the egg has hatched the parents take turns leaving the burrow in search of food for the Puffling chick.
Sand eels are the favourite food of the Burhou Puffins. An adult Puffin diving beneath the water can hold up to 10 sand eels in its beak at any one time. To hold this number of fish Puffins use the rough spines on the roof of their mouths to avoid dropping their catch.
10 incredible Puffin Facts – Did you know?
- The Atlantic Puffin is one of four species of puffin and the only one found in the Atlantic Ocean.
- A colony of Puffins living at sea is called a raft?
- A group of Puffins is called a circus!
- When diving to catch fish Puffins can stay under water for up to 30 seconds!
- Puffins usually hold up to 10 small fish in their beaks. The record catch by one single Puffin was 62!
- A Puffin's beak is made of Keratin just like the human finger nail!
- The average life span of a Puffin is between 20 and 30 years.
- Puffins are one of the smallest sea birds. They are about 18 centimetres tall.
- Puffins do not start to breed until they are 5 to 6 years of age.
- Puffins can fly at a speed of up to 45 miles per hour. To achieve this speed a Puffin will flap its wings 400 times a minute!