Maine’s puffins on upward swing

Populations have been rising after a tough breeding season in 2021

Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica), on islands off the coast of Maine continue to rebound after a devastating breeding season in 2021.  About two-thirds of the puffins fledged chicks last year, researchers found, and they continued to increase this year, to about 3,000 birds.

The gains come in the face of climate change that threatens their populations. Two years ago, only about a quarter of the birds fledged chicks amid dwindling numbers of herring and other fish the birds prey on. But the sand lance, another fish the puffins feed on, continues to be abundant, researchers found.

“This year is a good example of how complex things are. We can’t boil it down to one variable,” Don Lyons, director of conservation science at National Audubon Society’s Seabird Institute in Bremen, Maine, told the Associated Press. “We still have a lot to learn.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

Header Image: Atlantic puffin numbers off the coast of Maine are on the rise.Credit: Richard Bartz