Puffins come home for Puffin Fest

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One of the world’s favourite birds is due to take centre stage next month in Scotland’s first ever Puffin Fest!

The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick in East Lothian announced last week that it will be hosting a 10-day, fun-packed festival to celebrate all things puffin from 16 – 26 May 2014 and will be the first Puffin Fest to be held in Scotland.

As the ‘clowns of the sea’ flock back to the islands of Craigleith, Fidra and the Isle of May after a lengthy winter out at sea, they can be observed doing a bit of spring cleaning while they clear out their burrows in preparation for the breeding season. They should be laying their eggs just in time for Puffin Fest!

The event aims to bring some much-needed attention to these adorable little seabirds as they’ve had a bit of a bumpy ride over the last few years. Puffin Fest is a great opportunity for visitors and locals alike to learn about these fantastic creatures and the hardships they now face as a result of environmental change, as well as what conservation efforts are currently in place and what you can do to help.

Puffin Fest programme

During the celebrations, visitors will have an exciting opportunity to watch some interesting puffin behaviour up-close aboard the Puffin Express as it sails out to the breeding colonies.

There’s even things to do on dry land for those who can’t stomach the gentle waves of the Firth of Forth. Visitors can view Scotland’s feathery icons with the added comfort of being indoors by taking control of the live cameras at the Discovery Centre. There are also a number of puffin-themed events suitable for all ages including parties, picnics, art exhibitions, puffin trails and even puffin talks from wildlife experts.

Photography enthusiasts can also attend some of the puffin photography talks and workshops available during Puffin Fest. Hosted by award-winning photographers Jo McIntyre and Gordon Rae, this is the perfect opportunity to go snap happy and capture some brilliant moments!

The full programme is now available on the Scottish Seabird Centre’s website - be sure to check what’s on!

Puffin Fest programme launch

© Rob McDougall

While the event finishes on 26 May, the fun doesn’t end there! Some might be interested in visiting other puffin breeding colonies in Scotland between June and July to witness the puffins flying back to their burrows after fishing out at sea to feed their tiny pufflings. Their colourful beaks are designed to allow them to carry up to a dozen fish at a time – an iconic shot sought by photographers worldwide.

Puffins can be found all over Scotland between April and July. The largest colony can be found on the island of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides, but there are a number of other popular places to spot them including Sumburgh Head in Shetland, The Treshnish Isles near Mull and the various cliff-lined coasts of Orkney.

Visit our website to learn more about Scotland’s amazing wildlife.

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Daniel Barr

Daniel is a keen wildlife enthusiast from Edinburgh with a particular fondness for reptiles, marine mammals and iconic Scottish species.

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