DV-09-001 Determining the winter range and behavior of Atlantic puffins

Scott Hall
Research Coordinator
Audubon Seabird Restoration Program
Belfast, ME 04915

Most information about Atlantic puffins is derived from studies of their breeding colonies on Maine's outer coastal islands. Where they go during the winter, when they are thought to roam the ocean from the Gulf of Maine to Greenland and Iceland, however, is still a mystery. Band recoveries and some sightings along the mid-Atlantic coast hint that the region used by non-breeding puffins is both vague and potentially larger than reported. Current knowledge of winter distribution, range, and movements of puffins in the Northwest Atlantic is limited; without this information, biologists can not evaluate existing or potential threats to local or regional populations.

Sea Grant funds supported the purchase of geolocator instruments that were attached to ten adult puffins on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge in Penobscot Bay, Maine. The project continued with additional funds from Sea Grant in 2010. Data from the study was used in the Seabird Restoration Program's school seabird outreach program and highlighted at the Project Puffin Visitor Center.

Total: $6,000