Penguins are not all that. They don’t like Newfoundland. I find this hard to believe. They do however look rather dashing and get a hell of a lot more press than the whimsical, nervous puffin.
This is what I now know about puffins after taking a boat out to the Witless Bay bird sanctuary.
1. Puffins do not like boats.
2. They can mostly fly. They beat their wings 400 times a minutes. If they are having difficulty getting airborne, they will dive and swim away.
3. Unlike penguins, who carry their eggs around on their feet, puffins dig burrows in the peat to lay eggs. They live on the top of the island. Below them, you will find other birds such as black-legged kittiwakes and muerres (who look a lot like penguins and nest in lines)
4. Seagulls will chase puffins in the air, grab them by the neck and then drown them. They are the puffins main predator.
5. Puffins, like everything else up here, really groove on eating capelin: a small fish that as far as we can tell is a bit like a sardine.
6. Puffins have much bigger noses than penguins.
7. Unlike penguins, puffins live at sea most of the year.
8. Puffins do not vacation in Argentina.
Finally, here is a real birder’s blog and one that breaks my heart: Birding Babylon. It’s a facinating look at the birds of Iraq being written by one of our stationed soldiers.
Daytripping at Witless Bay