The puffin population on the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, has swelled by 8% since 2008, a National Trust survey has found. There are now just under 40,000 pairs nesting on the eight islandsan encouraging result after a spring in which scores of birds died as a result of poor weather and a shortage of food.  

The Farne Islands, which David Attenborough once described as his favourite place for wildlife watching, are one of the world’s most famous puffin-nesting sites. Until recently, every survey of them since 1939 showed an increase in puffin numbers.

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However, in 2003, it became apparent that the population had declined by a thirdjust 55,674 pairs were counted. The cheery little birds suffered a further blow in March of this year when more than 100 were washed up on nearby beaches, believed to have starved to death or fallen victim to exhaustion.

Across the border in East Yorkshire, local pubs and cafes are celebrating the birds’ return to form by selling ‘capuffincinos’, frothy coffees with a chocolate puffin sprinkled on top.

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