September 25, 2022

First with the Alderney News

June on Burhou

2 min read
Puffins are bringing back fish to their burrows on Burhou

These fascinating shots on AWT’s PuffinCam capture the moments a parent puffin arrives back on Burhou, beak stuffed with a nourishing fish meal for its single puffling.

The tiny island is a hive of activity in June and July as around 100 puffin pairs care for the new arrival in their burrow.

The pufflings hatched at the end of May and have a hearty appetite.

A chick needs around three ounces of fish per day before they leave the burrow and their parents will feed it eight to 10 times per day – keeping them very busy!

There’s been an added challenge for the parent birds in recent weeks in the shape of great black-backed gulls stealing food from the puffins.

It’s known as kelptoparasitism and is a natural phenomenon but this year AWT will taken action to control it and keep the puffin population – which only lay one egg per year – stable.

They will do this simply by cutting back bracken on Burhou.

The puffins do not nest in the backen whereas the gulls do, so by cutting the bracken back they will give the puffins more space and some separation from the lesser black-backed gull colony.

When the puffling is big enough – it will put on about 10 ounces in the six weeks it spends in the burrow – it is time for it to leave the safety of the nest and strike out on its own.

Pufflings exit the burrow once and head out to sea, usually under the cover of dusk After this they don’t usually return to land for five years, spending their life out at sea and around other puffin colonies.

Then it will find its own lifetime mate and start producing its own puffin chicks.

Colony Cam is the best way to view Burhou’s puffin colony live at present. Click on the link to see what’s happening.

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