'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, friends, fun, learning, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Egg Rock Island…

A cruise to Egg Rock Island hadn’t ever been on my radar screen before this trip, but today was our chance and we took it. An Audubon cruise to see and learn about Puffins, the cutest birds ever.

They are social little things and a group of them such as this are a raft of Puffins. Males and females look alike, and they both take care of the one chick per year that they produce. August is towards the end of their breeding time and we were told that we are among the last of the people who will see them this year.
I imagined seeing these birds standing on a rock, so that we would see their cute feet. But our instructor told us that these birds struggle to become airborne. They must flap their wings over 400 times per minute to become airborne. Sometimes, she said, you can see them running on the surface of the water as they are taking off. I love this picture because that’s exactly what we see here, and we see those orange feet. A lucky shot for sure.
Think of them as pudgy, slow-moving, hummingbirds, said the instructor.
We were lucky to see them at all. What a treat.

There were no more Puffins in Maine by 1901, and sewing machines were at fault. Ladies were so enamored of having feathers adorning their clothes and hats that the population of Puffins, and other birds, were affected. It wasn’t until the 1970s that attempts to repopulate the island began, and it took over 8 years to make progress. The winning combination involved bringing young chicks to the island, playing their mating calls, populating the island with Puffin decoys (back to that social thing), and even placing mirror boxes on the island to make them think there were more birds in residence and this would be the place for them. And it worked. There are 300 mated pairs on this island, and over 1000 in Maine as a whole. And these same conservation techniques are in use with other species of birds all over the world. This was a great experience on a wonderful day. We couldn’t have asked for more.