How lost baby puffins find their way home in Newfoundland - with a little help
At night, baby puffins are known to fly toward the light of the moon.
But along the coast of Newfoundland, the little pufflings sometimes get confused and instead fly toward the bright lights of cars and buildings in coastal towns. Tired and lost, many puffins become trapped.
Fortunately, a team of bird-loving environmental workers has developed a strategy for capturing the adorable pufflings and returning them to their craggy coastal homes.
Three times a week, members of the Canadian Wildlife Service pack the fluffy pufflings into boxes, put them onto boats and drive them into the ocean. Once the boat nears an ecological reserve populated by puffins, the birds are plucked from the containers and, one by one, tossed into the water.
It’s hardly a graceful finale, but according to Sabina Wilhelm with the Canadian Wildlife Service, it does the job.
“Finding these puffins and releasing them back into the ocean safely certainly is beneficial for conservation purposes in terms of minimizing mortality,” she said.
The orange-billed seabirds are a big tourist draw in Newfoundland, with hundreds of thousands of puffins found at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve off the island’s east coast.
In Maine, those populations are struggling, with reports that the species is in decline.
The Canadian rescuers say that when it comes to puffin preservation, each bird counts.
“They’re so adorable. People just love the puffins. It’s an iconic species for Newfoundland,” Wilhelm said.
With a report from CTV’s Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis