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The Puffin

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by

Marissa Campbell

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of The Puffin

I believe that we should take immediate measures to preserve the puffin species!
THE PUFFIN
The puffin is an organism that is worthy of conservation measures to ensure that our children and grandchildren are able to observe it in its natural environment. That is because puffins are a unique bird that can carry many fish at a time and only have one egg a year. They also only come to land to mate and mate with the same partner every year. Puffins have many different features that are interesting and it is up to our children and grandchildren to save these cute harmless birds.





Status
The puffins scientific name is Fratercula. The puffin is a stable species. The capelin is a large threat to the puffin even though it takes up 95% of its diet. The capelin are fished by different fisheries around the world which is a huge threat to the puffin. People are becoming a larger threat to the puffin as they are inclosing on their natural environment. Oil spills and introduction of non-native predators also have a big impact on the declining population of puffins.
Feeding
Puffins are omnivorous animals and feed upon many different small fish and sometimes squid, molluscs and crustaceans. The puffins dive for their food and usually dive for 20-30 seconds at a time. They can dive into deep waters and push themselves through the water with their wings as if they were flying. The also use their feet as a rudder. Puffins use their unique beak to carry their food. They can catch up to 30 fish and hold with their top beak that has a layer of spines as well as on their tongue. They can do this and not loose any of their fish to bring back to their chicks.
Predation
Puffins have few native land predator as they live up high on the top of a cliff and in burrows that are 3 feet under ground. Puffins are hunted be eagles, hawks, gulls and foxes which are their most common predator. When the puffins habitat is near humans their predators can also be dogs, cats and rats. When the puffin is out at sea it uses its black feathers on its back and white feathers on its stomach as camouflage as it is harder for other seabirds to find them.
Puffins systems
Digestive
: The digestive system of a puffin includes an esophagus, crop, proventriculus, gizzard, small and large intestines and a cloaca. Puffins rapidly digest their foods. It takes them about 6 hours to digest a sand eel. A rapid digestive system is associated with lower metabolizable energy gained and therefore they need to capture more prey. As the puffin has a small stomach it takes less metabolic cost in maintaining the tissue and also reducing the energy costs during flight and increases the ability to capture prey. This is why the hunt for high quality digestible food.

Circulation
: Puffins circulatory systems are very specialized. Warm arterial blood from the interior of the bird runs along side the cold veins returning from the feet.


Excretion
: The puffin has 2 kidneys which contain a ureter which carries the urine created by the kidney to the cloaca. In the cloaca the urine leaves the body. The kidneys consist of 3 lobes.

Respiration
: The puffin has 2 respiratory systems to move the air through the lung. Air moves through the trachea and into the posterior air sacs then the air moves to the lung with the first inhalation and exhalation. With the second inhalation and exhalation air moves from the main long to the anterior sacs then back up the trachea and out the puffin.





Reproduction / Life cycle
Puffins are mates for life. During mating season, male and females come together in large colonies throughout the warmer summer months on soft, grassy cliff tops. Puffins use their beaks and webbed feet the move the soil around and dig a burrow. Females will lay a single egg that is incubated by both parents. The egg will hatch about 6 weeks later in the burrow. The chick will stay with its parents until it becomes independent and leaves the nest at about 2 months old. Puffins can start reproducing between 4 and 5 years old. They can live up to 20 years old or older.
Ecological Interactions
Puffins are monogamous birds and come back to their exact nest every year. They are very social birds as they live in big colonies during mating season. They show their dominance to the other birds too. As puffins live on the high tops of cliffs they benefit the land because nothing else can use it. They are more protected from some of their predators and they use the height to fly down to the water. Although they do damage the land by digging big holes in the grown.
Facts
1. Puffins stay out in the sea by themselves or in pairs and only come to land when it is time to mate.

2. Puffins are 10 inches tall and weigh about 500 grams

3. Puffins can fly 77 to 88 km/hr and can achieve up to 400 beats with their wings a minute. They can move their wings so fast that they become a blur.

4. Puffins make loud growling calls usually from underground which sounds like a muffled chainsaw.

5. 60% of the Atlantic puffin population is found off the east coast of Newfoundland
Evolution
Right now puffins have been dying off because of starvation and losing body weight. This could be because of the rising temperature in the ocean and the fish populations are shifting. Puffins have been feeding on butterfish but these fish are too big for the chicks to eat so they don’t survive. Also many puffins were hunted by settlers on the late 1800s for food, eggs and feathers. Extreme weather has been putting the birds in distress and wrecking their nest. Warmer water and climate change is always a big factor in the puffins dying.
Human interaction
Behaviour
Puffins are very social birds when they come to land to mate. They live in huge colonies during mating season. Puffins stay with one partner throughout their lifetime. They show dominance like any other animal by moving about and bobbling their heads. Males will stand guard of the nest as well. When they are not mating puffins will be out on the ocean by themselves of with their parnter. They will always return to the same nest year after year.
Humans in the northerly regions hunt puffins both for their meat and for their eggs to provide an easy source of protein during the summer. As humans are doing this the population of puffins are decreasing because their habitats are being destroyed with people inclosing onto their natural habitat. This leaves more garbage for the birds to get in to. As well as the fish population decreasing and the increase of ocean activity. Oil spills have left puffins disappearing from that region.
Conservation
We need to control our littering and pollution in the world if we want to safe these birds. There are more and more oil spills that are occurring too which are harming the puffins and making them unable to swim and fly to get their food. More and more people are becoming aware of the decline of the puffins and are making protecting programs for the birds which people can donate and help them.
Conclusion
In conclusion, puffins are harmless birds that need to be protected. Their numbers are lowering every day because of us humans, but we can help. Puffins are dying because we are fishing and taking their food source to feed their young. We are polluting their water with oil spills which prevent them to fly and swim. As well as garbage that they can eat and harm themselves even more. We are destroying their nesting areas but letting tourist to go watch them. We are also bringing non-native predators to come and harm the puffins. We are the ones that are decreasing the population of puffins for no reason and they deserve to have their own space to live without being harmed. We need to think before littering and help conserve the puffins for people to continue to see them.
Resources
http://oceana.org/en/explore/marine-wildlife/atlantic-puffin

http://a-z-animals.com/animals/puffin/

http://projectpuffin.audubon.org/puffin-faqs

http://wren.aps.uoguelph.ca/apsblog/esaldanh/digestion-and-physiology/

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/kids/animal-facts/atlantic_puffin.asp

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/03/atlantic-puffin-population-risk-scientists
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