Due to the late spring, many puffins are still around on Skomer. Puffin chicks (pufflings!) have reached a weight of around 300g after being brought beakfuls of sandeels by their parents for the last six weeks. Chicks are now beginning to venture out of their burrows and exercise their wings ready for fledging.
|First time out of the burrow under the watchful eye of a parent|
|First wing stretch|
When the pufflings fledge they are only 70% of the adults weight but unlike the young of razorbills and guillemots they are able to fly reasonably well. However, they are still vulnerable to attacks by predatory gulls so they leave under cover of darkness. The pufflings make their way out to sea alone and receive no further parental care. They will remain at sea for almost two years without setting foot on land. From the age of two onwards they will return to the colony looking for a mate and prospecting for a burrow. They will most likely start breeding at the age of four or five. Puffins on average live to 25 years old but the oldest on Skomer is a grand 38!
Now is a great time to come to Skomer to see puffins and to try to spot pufflings coming out of burrows. The next couple of weeks will be the only time of year you can spot a baby puffin.
James Roden (Long Term Volunteer) and Nia Stephens (Assistant Warden)
Thanks to Conor Strong and Howard Driver our weekly volunteers for the photos.