Getting to Know Puffins…

…with a little help from the sun.

An interesting article on the BBC website today about the seasonal habits of Puffins.

The most interesting thing other than learning more about the puffins’ whereabouts was the method they used for understanding where the birds were at any one time. Using ‘geolocator tags’ that logged the time of sunrise, sunset the research team were able to deduce their location.

‘The loggers work by measuring light levels, recording when dawn and dusk occurs each day.

With this data, researchers can calculate day length, when midday occurs, and the daily longitudinal and latitudinal co-ordinates for the individual bird.’

The tags also detected when the birds’ feet were wet, the hope being that this would give information about when the birds were airborne, but the puffins foxed the researchers here: they like to tuck their feet up into their plumage when asleep. Their feet were dry even as they bobbed on the surface of the sea.

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