Every year, thousands of people visit a nesting colony of Atlantic Puffins on England’s northeastern coast. David Craven of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust says the puffins’ comical appearances endear them to visitors. Craven uses people’s love for the puffins as a way to start conversations about saving the species from extinction. Hear more about how the Bempton Cliffs puffins are inspiring conservation efforts on the Threatened podcast.
The Puffin’s Charismatic Cuteness
Adapted by Conor Gearin from the Threatened podcast episode by Ari Daniel and Paul Drury-Bradey
This is BirdNote.
[Calls from puffin colony]
This colony of Atlantic Puffins nests on Bempton Cliffs on the northeastern coast of England. Thousands of adoring fans visit every year. David Craven of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust explains this attraction.
David Craven: So they get these nicknames like clowns of the sea, parrots of the sea. And we're sort of talking about things that people do. And that sort of short, fat dumpy little shape is the sort of thing that we think of as being quite comical. They're not the best birds in the air to watch. They're not particularly good fliers, they tend to sort of propel themselves on a cliff and off a cliff. And that's about as far as they get most of the time, they'll be sitting on the surface of the water on the oceans on the seas and the North Sea, and fishing. But when they get into the water, that sort of awkward-looking body in the air becomes really incredibly efficient. But I think it is their visual appearance that really endears them to people.
David uses visitors’ affection for the puffins’ cute mannerisms to strike up conversations about how to protect the species from extinction.
David Craven: And then we can go from what you love [about] the puffin, and here's what you can do to actually help us out to help ensure that these puffins survive, thrive and here for generations to come. And actually the puffins are a really threatened species, especially here in the UK.”
[Atlantic Puffin calls, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/167748861, 0:09-0:014]
You can hear more about how the Bempton Cliffs puffins are inspiring conservation efforts on the Threatened podcast. Listen in your podcast app or at BirdNote dot org. I’m Ari Daniel.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Digital Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Atlantic Puffin ML 167748861 recorded by R. Singal.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© September 2021 BirdNote Narrator: Ari Daniel
ID puffin-04-2021-09-03 puffin-04