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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Day 12 - Puffin!

© Sharon Whitley

Probably my favourite seabird - how can anyone not love these birds, often called 'clowns of the sea', or 'sea parrots'. They spend the majority of their life out at sea and only visit our coastlines to breed and raise their young which are called 'pufflings'.  I have seen them on the Farne Islands and on Skomer Island which they use for breeding between March/April and leave again mid August.  It amazes me to think of all those seabirds living out at sea throughout the winter! The little pufflings will be raised in burrows being fed a diet of sand eels until they are ready to leave.

After about 40 days, the chick is deserted and stays in it burrow for 7 - 10 days, without food, whilst its adult feathers develop.
Leaving the burrow is a dangerous time for the young puffin, so it emerges at night to avoid hungry gulls. It cannot yet fly, so it tumbles down the cliff face and swims as far out to sea as possible before daybreak. It then starts learning to fly and fish. The following year, the young puffin returns to the colony, although it does not breed until it is four or five years old.

It's difficult to imagine the puffin without the brightly coloured beak but they only develop these bright colours on their beaks for the breeding season.

You can find out more about puffins here


  1. Oh WOW! Sharon you're amazing! This bird is exquisite!

  2. What a sweetie this one is. I didn't know they could fly; I suppose I never really thought about it. I just thought they were like penquins and didn't fly. I'll have to search for a photo of them in flight. It would be interesting to see.

  3. This is stunning Sharon! Each painting surpasses the last. What beautiful creatures Puffins are!

  4. Dear Sharon. A watercolors very beautiful, excellent work. Kind regards. Luis

  5. Brilliant painting Sharon. I love the facts you added about the Puffin, I feel so sorry for them when they are young and have to fend for themselves, makes me want to go out and help them.

  6. This is an outstanding painting of a very colorful bird. We don't have anything like this here in Florida. Love the lost edges.

  7. his is a winner. Absolutely stunning

  8. Nicely Done

    This is a fabulous watercolor
    of this poser; it truly caught my eye,
    nice subtle coloring mixed in with the
    bright bill, feet and eye, congratulations.

    I'm familiar with puffins, having lived
    with them, held them, photographed them, and seen
    all three species in their native locales;
    plus published three books featuring puffins.


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