Puffin numbers finally on the rise

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.

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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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