Puffins, the beloved seabirds of Maine, have suffered one of their worst years in terms of the population due to warm ocean temperatures.

As specified in a Phys.org report, the said suffering of this bird species in decades this summer is explicitly brought by a lack of the tiny fish they are eating.

Puffins have colorful beaks that nest on four tiny islands off the coast of Maine. Essentially, there are approximately 1,500 breeding couples in the state, and they are reliant on fish like herring and sand lance to have the ability to feed their young.

According to director of conservation science Don Lyons, for the National Audubon Society's Seabird Institute of Bremen, Main, this summer, only about 25 percent of the birds successfully raised their chicks.

ALSO READ: How Did Seabirds Develop the Ability to Cruise Through Air and Water? New Insights Revealed

Science Times - Puffins: Maine's Much-Loved Seabirds Experience the Worst Year Ever; Species Severe Warning for Reproduction in Decades
(Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service on Wikimedia Commons)
Atlantic puffins

Less Productive Years in the 4 Decades

The colonies of puffins have recently experienced a single or two small-productivity years in the 40 years since the restoration of their populations in Maine, explained Lyons.

He also said the birds had a poor year due to the warm ocean temperatures this summer that lessened the availability of the fish the chicks need to survive.

Additionally, the expert continued to explain there were lesser fish to catch for puffins, and the ones could not be perfect for chicks. Commenting on the current status of the seabirds, Lycon emphasized, "It is a severe warning this year."

The islands where this bird species is nesting can be found in a body of water known as the Gulf of Maine that warms more rapidly than the vast majority of the world's oceans.

'Vulnerable Puffins'

The study authors have not noticed much of the adult puffins' death, although the population is expected to suffer if these species keep on struggling with raising chicks.

This disheartening report comes following favorable indications in recent years amid the challenging ecological settings. The birds' population, which is on Maine's state threatened species list, has been steady in recent years.

A similar US News report said the birds experienced one of their "most productive seasons for mating pairs in years in 2019."

Researchers including Stephen Kress, who has observed the birds for decades, said at the same time that birds appeared to be doing well due to the Gulf of Maine experienced a cool year that resulted in a richness of foods.

Moreover, National Geographic describes puffins as Atlantic puffins that live in Canada, as well, and the other side of the ocean. Globally, they are listed by the International Union for Conservation nature as "vulnerable."

This said report added, Atlantic puffins feature penguin-like coloring, although they are sporting a colorful beak that has resulted in some calling them the "sea parrot."

Specifically, the beak is fading to a drab gray in winter and blooms, again having color in the spring. This suggests that it may attract potential mates.

Related report about Maine's puffins shown on CBS Boston's YouTube video below:


RELATED ARTICLE: How Does Ocean Turbulence Affect Foraging Patterns of Seabirds?

Check out more news and information on Birds in Science Times.