Puffins are easily identified by their white bellies and jet-black "fur" highlighted by their bright red beaks. Scientifically known as Fratercula Arctica, these adorable birds frequent coastal areas from Maine to eastern Canada and from Iceland to Scotland. Unfortunately, like many other species, their numbers declined rapidly in the 19th century as humans collected eggs and hunted adults. On the coastal islands of Maine, the lone bird population at Matinix Rock was just 70 pairs. But after decades of effort, Maine's puffin population has now recovered and is relatively stable. For the past two years, Maine puffins have been living and nesting on Matinicus Rock, Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island, and Petit Manan Island.
Rapidly warming waters in the Gulf of Maine are affecting the fish that puffins feed on. Food shortages led to a disastrous breeding year in 2021, with only a quarter of adult birds giving birth to chicks. Fortunately, new figures show that Ikanago has been able to catch up over the past two years. Last year, two-thirds of the birds gave birth to chicks. It's not that high this year, but it's still good. Maine's population is currently believed to be approximately 3,000. Although these birds are relatively stable, heat waves and food changes due to the climate crisis still threaten these resilient birds. But as Bill Seidman, director of the Farallon Institute, told The Associated Press, "The problem with climate change is that these reproductive failures and years of low reproductive productivity are becoming chronic." Breeding populations can be recruited. ”