You will have seen photographs and movies circling the web of individuals throwing child puffins, or pufflings, off of cliffs. Whereas you might have been shocked, it’s truly a typical follow in Iceland. As soon as pufflings are able to enterprise off on their very own, they need to make their approach out to sea and be part of their flock. Nonetheless, a few of them can get caught, so the communities round Iceland come collectively to assist pufflings discover their approach dwelling. That is known as puffling season.
Puffins are sea birds within the Alcidae (Auk) household. Although their beak and black and white feathers look just like a penguin, they aren’t intently associated. Their shut kin embody the guillemot and the razorbill. Puffins, together with different Auks, can fly, not like penguins.
There are 4 species of puffin: the Atlantic, the horned, the tufted and the rhinoceros auklet. The Atlantic is the commonest, discovered across the North Atlantic, together with Iceland. Their identify most certainly derives from the massive quantity of down fur their infants have, also known as puff balls.
Because the pufflings mature and prepare to go out to sea, they arrive out of their burrows at night time and look to the moon for steering — very similar to child sea turtles. And sadly, pufflings typically make their approach towards what they assume is the moon however is definitely nocturnal, synthetic gentle sources — or gentle air pollution.
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Due to gentle air pollution, the pufflings get misplaced and discover themselves stranded within the cities round Iceland. However locals in Iceland have began the custom of puffling season, the place they exit at night time between 9 p.m. and three a.m. with flashlights and cardboard bins to catch the younger puffins.
Some pufflings even get scooped up within the harbor, the place the waters could also be oily and polluted. Within the morning, locals carry the collected pufflings to a cliff the place they’re then set on the sting or gently tossed within the air. The pufflings then make their approach out to sea to affix their flock, the place they’ll keep for the following 3 to 4 years.