Sunday, 29 May 2011
Stick to the paths
This little monster believe it or not is a puffin chick or a puffling.
Everyone that visits the island is given an introductory talk and this is to keep the visitors safe and the birds safe. The main thing we ask of visitors is to stick to the paths as if they stray they can have quite an impact on the breeding birds of the island that they have come to see. For instance there are about 45000 pairs of puffins that breed on the island in burrows a few inches under the surface of the soil. A person standing on a burrow can easily crush the tunnel and what is inside. Exactly this happened the other day but in this case the newly hatched puffin chick or puffling wasn't hurt. However the parents won't return to feed the puffling if light is getting into the burrow, so for this chap I needed to go and repair his burrow. Firstly I hoisted him out to check that he was OK (he told me he was quite loudly), I then cleaned loose soil out of the burrow and patched the hole in the roof with an old roofing slate before covering over the slate with soil and turf putting the little chap back in.
Some people don't believe me when I tell them that this sort of thing can happen and that they should stick to the paths but maybe by reading this they might now!
An puffin below bringing in a large sprat instead of the more usual sand eels. Some chicks will have been very full after all that !