Iceland hosts more than half of the world’s colony of Atlantic Puffin. There are approximately three to four million pairs of Atlantic Puffins in Iceland breeding each year.
The total population of puffins in the area is about eight to 10 million birds. One of the most common species of birds in Iceland is the Atlantic Puffin.
Characteristics of Puffins
Puffins live in water and only come ashore to breed or raise their single chick every year. Puffins dive up to dark depths of approximately 60 meters. They have flapping wings that help them swim well under water. Puffins also have webbed feet for easy manoeuvring. Their bodies are shaped in a way that helps them swim or dive to great depths. As much as puffins cannot fly gracefully, the birds are fast flyers and can fly at a speeds of 80 km per hour.
Locations to see Atlantic Puffin
Some of the best locations to see Atlantic Puffins includes; Latrabjarg, Hornstrandir, Hornbjarg, Breidafjord, Lundey and Haelavikurbjarg. An unusual aspect of the puffins at Haelavikurbjarg and Hornbjarg is that they are so tame and trusting towards human beings and you can potentially even touch them without scaring them away. Látrabjarg Cliffs situated in the Westfjords hosts one of the bird cliffs. Hornstrandir gives bird watchers the ultimate outdoor experience as one can hike as they are watching birds.
Westman Island Puffins
Westman Islands are home to half of Icelandic puffins. The puffins in this area are rescued and harvested. In August millions of new-born puffins are usually leaving their burrows in Heimaey cliff, but some of the puffins get lost from the paths. Children of the Heimaey often embark on Puffin rescue missions to help the befuddled, baby birds. Westman Islands have the largest puffin colony, and it hosts a fifth of the world’s puffins.
Photo – Ólafur Larsen, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr