Sunday, 16 May 2010

Puffin cam

I love these little birds with their stripy beaks, they look so sweet. Last year when we were in Shetland we were lucky to be able to get close enough to take photos and to watch them coming and going from the cliff side.

Puffins rear their young in burrows and this year at Sumburgh Head in Shetland the RSPB have put a camera inside one of these burrows. Over the last few days I have checked in to see how the puffin is getting on so I thought I'd share the link to the webcam in case anyone else is interested. 

The link takes you to the index page for all the Shetland webcams. Look for the puffin thumbnail, there are two cameras, camera 1 is inside the burrow and camera 2 shows the entrance. Over the last few days there has been a bird sitting in the burrow most of the time - usually looking very sleepy. Of course nothing can be seen if it is dark so non UK viewers would need to allow for the time difference.

Puffins lay a single egg and there is already one in this burrow. Both parents take turns to incubate the egg for 36 to 45 days and after that they both feed the young bird for a further 34 - 60 days. There should be something to see on the camera for a few weeks yet.

Puffins are on the "amber list" of UK Birds of Conservation Concern because the breeding populations are concentrated in a few sites and so are vulnerable to changes in the environment.

A few years ago the numbers of successfully fledged young puffins was worryingly low. It was thought that this might be due to global warming, a small rise in sea temperature causing the sand eels which are the young puffins main food source to move further north to cooler waters away from the puffin breeding sites. Last year however the breeding figures increased again with just under half of all occupied burrows producing a chick. 

I think puffin cam is such a good idea. It has certainly made me think about the vulnerability of these little birds plus they are so cute to see in the burrow. I hope this burrow is one of the successful ones and that there will be a healthy chick although that will be a few weeks away yet. 


Flower said...

The Puffins are so interesting! Thanks for the link to the web-cam! I'm sorry about your chicken! We have lost so many chickens this year to all kinds of wild animals. It is disturbing! Sometimes they just die and we never know why. Will you get more?

willow said...

I'm not sure whether we will get any more, probably not but I will have to see if one chicken on her own seems happy or whether we should get some more for company.

Simply Authentic said...

Love these pictures :) Puffins are such amazing birds. Appreciated the information on them.