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  Atlantic puffin  
  (Fratercula arctica)  
 

atlantic puffin.jpg

 
 

Often referred to as the Sea Parrot, the Atlantic Puffin's large, colorful, triangular bill makes this species one of Quebec's most charismatic bird species. The Puffin nests in variably sized colonies (ranging from just a few pairs, to over 200,000 pairs) on isolated islands along the Lower North Shore and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A single egg is laid in either a burrow or crevice. Adult Puffins invest much into their lone egg; each is incubated for up to 49 days, followed by a nestling period of 38-44 days. Puffins are also expert swimmers and divers. Using their wings to propel themselves underwater, puffins can dive up to hundreds of feet to catch fish. The 1988 survey of Puffin population size in North Shore sanctuaries indicated over 35,000 birds. Although still small relative to the 72,000 birds recorded in 1935, the current population size is double what it was during the 1960's and 70's. Possibly the decline of large fish such as cod has permitted an increased abundance of forage species such as capelin and sand lance, which are some of the preferred prey of the Atlantic Puffin.

 
  Distribution of the Atlantic Puffin in Quebec:  
  distribution map.jpg  

 

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