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September 2, 2010

Puffins: The Clowns of the Sea

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve always been interested in puffins. I think it’s because they’re so cute with their bright bills. I have seen puffins in the wild during our trips to Britain, but I haven’t had a close encounter so they’re still on my list of things to see one day.

Thirteen Facts About Puffins

Puffin and Fish

1. Puffins spend most of their time at sea, only returning to land to breed during spring.

2. Puffins are known for their distinctive black and white coloring and their bright orange beak. The beak is actually gray while they’re at sea and turns orange when it’s time to return to land. They’re the cutest thing.

3. Puffins are strong swimmers and can dive to 200 feet. They don’t stay underwater for long.

4. Puffins eat small fish e.g. herrings.

5. On land, they live in colonies.

6. Birds usually mate for life.

7. The females lay a single egg.

8. The parents take turns feeding the chick

9. Over 60% of the puffins are in Iceland.

10. They supplement their meals by drinking seawater.

11. Puffins choose a partner when they’re around 3 – 5 years old.

12. When a couple reunite they knock their bills together. This is called billing.

13. The puffins nest in burrows and return to the same one each year.

Source: National Geographic http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/atlantic-puffin/
Puffin with Fish © Paul Edwards | Dreamstime.com

Have you seen a puffin before?


  1. Ginger H

    I’ve never seen a Puffin, but they sound adorable. We have a blue heron that lives on our lake. We nicknamed him Big Bird.

  2. Anthony North

    Some great facts on Puffins. They’re amazing birds.

  3. Shelley Munro

    Yes, we don’t have them down here in New Zealand.

  4. Hootin' Anni


    Wow…so very very interesting. I find it sad to know that these ‘great white hunters’ —-who hunt for the sport of it are killing those feathered friends who mate for life…

  5. Linda Henderson

    They are so cute. I live in the middle of the USA so I don’t get to see any ocean birds.

  6. colleen

    Yes, from a distance in Oregon I think.

  7. Jennifer Leeland

    Awesome information! I do like their version of “billing” than most people’s. LOL!

  8. N.J. Walters

    They’re fascinating little creatures.

  9. Darla

    I saw them while in Alaska. They were awesome! The boat captain said they are able to dive deeply in part because their bones are dense as opposed to being hollow like most birds. Happy TT!

  10. Alice Audrey

    Mr. Al and I kind of knock bills together. Well, a quick kiss anyway.

  11. Whitney

    I’ve never seen them but I worry about how things like the oil spill and other environmental changes are affecting them.

  12. A. Catherine Noon

    These are adorable!!

  13. Maria D.

    I have never seen a Puffin but they are cute looking birds. Thanks for the facts!

  14. JOYE

    Great information on puffins. I saw a few at the San Diego World famous Zoo.

  15. Adelle Laudan

    Aww they are kinda cute. Thanks for the info.
    Happy T13!

  16. Heather

    I’ve seen puffins at the aquarium in Baltimore — a cute and fascinating bird!

  17. Kristen

    I have never seen a puffin in person. I love birds that mate for life.

  18. Shelley Munro

    I hadn’t thought of puffins being in zoos.

    Kristen – birds that mate for life are cool, aren’t they?

    Darla – I knew I’d seen Puffins somewhere else. It was Alaska.

  19. Elise Logan

    I had no idea that puffins were so prevalent in Iceland!

  20. Inez Kelley

    I have never seen a puffin except in pictures. Interesting birds though, I read about them in my research.

  21. Mary J. Dressel

    I love learning something new every day. Thanks! Puffin’s are so cute.

  22. Tatiana Caldwell

    I’ve never seen a puffin in real life, but man are they adorable. Cool facts to know about them.

    *sighs* I wish that’s what “billing” meant around my house …

  23. Becky

    Fascinating post. I have never seen a puffin, but they are adorable. You are starting quite a collection here Shelley. First you were talking to an alpaca and now puffins. Does your husband know you have a menagerie? :grin:

  24. Maddy Barone

    No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a puffin. But then I’m very close to the geographical cetner of North America. No ocean for a thousand miles in any direction. Cute birds. It’s fun ot learn new things! :)

  25. Kai W.

    Puffins are cute. There’s even a cereal name after them.

  26. Jean M.

    I’d seen pictures of Puffins (isn’t that a cute name?), but when I saw them from a sightseeing boat on Prince William Sound in Alaska, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. They aren’t just cute, they are beautiful! All around us in the water these fabulously colored birds floated, dived, & kept everyone enthralled,to say the least. I didn’t know all the tidbits you’ve told us. I wish I’d had your info. on that trip! Interesting writers keep us captive in lots of different ways! Thanks!

  27. Shelley Munro

    Tatiana – I hear you on the billing. :eek:

    Becky – I was brought up in the country. I like animals. :grin:

    Kai – There’s Puffin books as well. I’m not sure if that publishing company is in the US as well

  28. Shelley Munro

    Jean – how awesome. I’d love a really close sighting like yours.

  29. Jenny Schwartz

    I love photos of puffins, though I’ve never seen them in real life. Jean, I’m so envious. And thanks for the facts, Shelley.

  30. Mary Preston

    Is it my imagination but some of the facts seem very similar to penguins. Very interesting thank you.

  31. Toni Anderson

    Shelley–my next story features a puffin biologist :mrgreen: Crazy thing was I set it when the puffins themselves were at sea!! :roll: I have seen them though, lots, off the East coast Scotland on the Isle of May (IOM features heavily in next story). I’m another person obsessed with these cute little birds :)

  32. julie reuter

    I agree that puffins are adorable. And good for you that seein a puffin up close and personal is on your ‘to-do’ list! That’s an interesting thing for sure.

  33. Shelley Munro

    Jenny – they’re very cute, aren’t they? I like the color of their beaks.

    Mary – many people think they’re related to the penguin, but they’re not. their little black and white suits are very cute.

  34. Shelley Munro

    Toni – you know I’m going to have to read that book even though your puffins won’t have pretty colored beaks.

    Julie – I’m slowly crossing things off my to-do list.