Summer is always looming, and dreams of the perfect science summer camp may be welling up inside you, making you fit to burst from excitement. To get you in the right spirits, let’s take a look at the lifestyle of the pleasant, comic, and intriguing Atlantic puffin.
What They Are
This little seabird is also known as a common puffin, and is part of the auk family. It is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean. These cute little birds have distinct beaks and facial markings that have made them a popular fixture in biology and the human imagination.
How They Behave
The Atlantic puffin lives a double life. Part of it is spent alone at sea, bobbing about and running across the water after tasty fish. Or perhaps they take a break on the ocean waves to preen themselves, or do a nose dive to keep a lookout for predators, like seals. The rest of their lives are spent on small islands or coastlines, mingling with their own kind around the springtime—usually at the colony site where they were hatched. The Atlantic puffin is known to divide their colony territories up with physical boundaries, like bracken, and the earliest puffins to the party usually have their pick of the best spots on the cliffs.
The Human Element
Hunting puffins have been a favorite seaman’s sport since before recorded history. The Vikings would enjoy a puffin when they caught them well out at sea, as a fresh meal. Today, puffins are considered protected, although not endangered. The Atlantic puffin has been used as an official icon for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, and a variety of stamps in places like Gibraltar, Iceland, and Norway. Penguin Books has famously used the Atlantic puffin as the marker for their publishing company.
The Atlantic puffin, known as the clown of the sea or as a sea parrot, has plenty of spunk and personality. Perhaps that’s why science summer camps that allow you to study them are so appealing for kids.
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