They nickname the Atlantic Puffin the “Sea Parrot” because of its large colorful bill during the breeding season. These colorful birds have a fascinating life. The “Sea Parrot” nests on isolated islands in large colonies. On these isolated islands the male and female together, dig a burrow up to 7 feet long with their bill, and clawed feet. The Atlantic Puffin pair are monogamous and often return to the same burrow year after year. Some pairs have been together for twenty years or more!
Most of North America’s Puffins breed at Witless Bay, Newfoundland. I photographed this “Sea Parrot” landing on the rocks on Machias Seal Island. Machias Seal Island is between Cutler, Maine and Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Machias Seal Island is a small seabird sanctuary, managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service. The Atlantic Puffin spends about four months on their chosen breeding island where they are very social and gregarious. Atlantic Puffins spend the other eight months of the year during the winter, at sea and usually alone!