Pufflings on the move

What to do if you come across a puffling

Every summer we ask residents along the East Lothian and Fife coast to help the endangered puffin population by looking out for young puffins. Puffins fledge at night. As they begin to leave their burrows on the islands in the Firth of Forth, some pufflings can become disorientated by lights on the mainland and may fly towards town rather than out to sea. Once on land they will seek somewhere dark to hide from predators often underneath cars, behind bins and under plants in gardens.

Please be extra vigilant over the next few weeks and, if you spot a puffling, please alert the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or the Scottish Seabird Centre on 01620 890202.

It is important to note that pufflings look completely different from their adult counterparts. People often don’t realise what they can see is a puffling! They are shades of grey, white and black; their smaller beaks don’t have the characteristic bright colours that the adults have in summer.

The puffin (like many of our breeding seabirds) is red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as it is globally vulnerable and declining in numbers. By reporting any unusual sightings of the small grey chicks (see picture below) to the to the Scottish SPCA residents and visitors can play a vital role in helping this much-loved seabird. Once reported, the team from the Scottish SPCA (and if local the Scottish Seabird Centre) can collect the pufflings and release them in safer areas, away from known predators.

A young puffling being released from a boat by the Scottish Seabird Centre team.
Greg Macvean

Contact SSPCA
Please be extra vigilant over the next few weeks and, if you spot a puffling, to immediately alert the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or the Scottish Seabird Centre on 01620 890202.

Learn more about puffins
To learn more about puffins and when to see them.