With Summer 2022 now officially recognized as the Newfoundland-wide Come Home Year, it’s not only puffins and whales flocking to Newfoundland in search of the best summer vacation. If you’re planning to come to see the puffins this year, be sure to deploy your Top 2022 Newfoundland Travel Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to ensure you get the best of the best during your trip to Newfoundland. With pent-up travel demand exploding and competition for hotel, ferry, and rental car bookings, you’re going to want to do some extra planning to make sure your summer 2022 Newfoundland vacation is perfect.
Beloved by birders and nature enthusiasts everywhere, puffins are one of the most widely recognized birds in Newfoundland. With a colorful bill that seems too perfectly painted to be real, puffins have a photogenic, cartoon-like appeal. Seeing an Atlantic Puffin is a must for anyone visiting Newfoundland.
1. Puffins only possess Technicolor bills—and their matching orange feet—during the spring breeding season. Just before winter sets in, they shed the colorful outer bill, leaving a noticeably smaller and duller-colored beak.
2. There are four species of puffins, three of which are slightly distinguishable from one another. The Atlantic and horned puffins look quite similar, with the exception of a blue-grey triangle at the base of the Atlantic puffin’s beak. During the mating season, straw-like feathers protrude from the crown of the tufted puffin’s head. The fourth species, the rhinoceros auklet, doesn’t look like the other three – it’s ashen colored, with a rhino-like protrusion during the breeding season. But it’s still technically a puffin.
3. The puffins’ genus name, Fratercula,comes from the Latin for “little brother.” The name refers to the sea bird’s black and white plumage, which was said to resemble the robes that monks once wore.
4. A puffin weighs about the same as a can of sparkling water.
5. Puffins lay just one egg per year—and usually with the same mate. Like some penguins, both parents take turns incubating the egg and caring for the chick.
6. Puffins may chatter up a storm at their breeding colonies, but they remain perfectly silent while at sea.
7. There are currently eight isles around the world named Puffin Island—so named because they all are or once were home to large colonies of puffins.
8. A puffin can fly as fast as 55 mph. Compared with other auks, which tend to stay just a few feet above the sea, puffins usually maintain a cruising altitude of around 30 feet.
9. Sixty percent of the world’s puffins breed in Iceland.
10. Puffins are one of the few birds that have the ability to hold several small fish in their bills at a time. Their raspy tongues and spiny palates allow them to firm grasp 10 to 12 fish during one foraging trip. They thus can bring more food back to their young compared with other seabirds that tend to swallow and regurgitate meals for their chicks.
Do you have a favorite Puffin fact that’s not in the top 10 Newfoundland Puffin facts listed above? Please share with us in the comments below.