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Puffin spotted off Bermuda

Two brothers fishing at Challenger Banks recently caught something unexpected — a glimpse of a live puffin.

Matthew Watson, who found the bird with his brother Andrew, said: “We were able to get pretty close to it, and it wouldn’t fly away, it just kept swimming away. Twice it dove down and seemed to stay down for a really long time.”

Atlantic puffins, sometimes called the clown of the seas because of their distinct faces and red, triangular bills, typically spend most of their lives at sea. They only land on suitable coasts to breed, with the nearest breeding colonies being in Maine and Nova Scotia.

Dead puffins have occasionally washed ashore but Bermuda Audubon Society president Andrew Dobson said this was the first living puffin photographed in our waters.

Mr Dobson said: “In some winters, and this year was no exception, prolonged bad weather can prevent puffins from feeding and they can starve. Weakened birds can’t fly and many drown.

“In the past two months at least six dead birds have been found. Therefore it was a real thrill to know that a live puffin has at last been seen in Bermuda waters.”

Mr Dobson added that with the advances in photographic equipment, more and more people are taking an interest in wildlife photography.

“Mr Watson is obviously the envy of the local birding community, but if he had not photographed the bird, we might never have known,” Mr Dobson said. “The Audubon Society is always pleased to hear of rare bird sightings or help people identify bird species.”

Photo by Matthew Watson Rare sight: The first live puffin to be photgraphed in Bermuda waters

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Published April 16, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 16, 2013 at 1:08 am)

Puffin spotted off Bermuda

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