If I had a nickel for every time someone pointed at a picture of a puffin and said, “Look, a penguin! How cute!” I would most definitely have a ridiculous amount of coins. For those of you who may have questioned your own knowledge of this bird, you are not alone. I’ve went ahead and dug up some information, not only on puffins themselves but how you might go about seeing them right here in Maine!
- The only puffin habitat in the U.S. is exclusively in Maine. Here, we have helped the population surge dramatically over the past 100 years.
- Sixty percent of the world’s puffins breed in Iceland.
- Puffins only possess Technicolor bills—and their matching orange feet—during the spring breeding season. Just before winter sets in, they shed the colorful outer bill, leaving a noticeably smaller and duller-colored beak.
- Puffins lay just one egg per year—and usually with the same mate. Like some penguins, both parents take turns incubating the egg and caring for the chick.
- Puffins are one of the few birds that have the ability to hold several small fish in their bills at a time. Their spiny palates allow them to firmly grasp 10 to 12 fish during one foraging trip.
- There are four species of puffins: Atlantic, tufted, horned, and rhinoceros auklet. The Atlantic puffin is found exclusively on the Atlantic Coast, whereas the latter three are spread out along the Pacific Coast.
- Puffins are about 10 inches tall and weigh around 500 grams, similar to that of a can of soda.
- A puffin can fly 48 to 55 mph, beating its wings up to 400 beats a minute.
- Puffins often live 20 years or more. The oldest known puffin lived to be 36 years old.
Here are a few places to visit if interested in taking a puffin cruise:
- Eastern Egg Rock
- The Hardy Boat
- Cap’n Fish’s
- The Monhegan Boat Line
- Petit Manan
- Bar Harbor Boat Tours
- Bar Harbor Whale Tours
- Robertson Sea Tours
- Matinicus Rock & Seal Island
- Matinicus Excursions
- Old Quarry Ocean Adventures
- Machias Seal Island
- Bold Coast Charter Company
- Sea Watch Tours
**Most tours start in mid May and run through late August.
If you find yourself visiting Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine–either before or after witnessing a puffin in its natural habitat–we feature one photographer whose wildlife photography is absolutely breathtaking. Amidst her moose and loons, her foxes and owls, you’ll find a collection of puffin photos that’ll make you wonder how she got so close to capture those moments. Lori Davis began her journey as a photographer at the mere age of nine. She accompanied her family as they volunteered as wildlife rehabilitators and began taking photos as a way to preserve these memories. Preserve yours with one of her matted prints or canvases, and bring a piece of ME home with you.
~Marissa (Portland Store Assistant Manager)
If you are interested in learning more about puffins and what Maine is doing to help protect their population in this ever-changing climate, here are a few resources Marissa found during her research: