How a puffin looks like
If you don’t know yet what a puffin is, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet these charming arctic creatures. Puffins are small birds, wearing a black and white plumage, and a colorful large peak from mid-April until mid-September. If you come to Nuuk during the summer, you will find an island inhabited by puffins, also known as sea parrots or “lunde”.
I have joined the Puffin Safari tour and we sailed during almost one hour into the fiord towards this hidden island, while our Captain and Sub Captain were talking about the fiord, the abandoned settlements, hunting season, and hiking trips they usually have during the weekends.
We spent a little bit more than an hour admiring these spellbinding birds, delighted when they were flapping their small wings rapidly, flying all together towards the sea and back to the island, joining the colony once again. Such a marvelous spectacle they constantly showed!
After having a good time admiring these creatures, the staff offered cookies, coffee and tea onboard, and they also lent us some binoculars to keep an eye on how puffins where behaving on the island, taking off, landing, and floating on the sea.
They are excellent divers and swimmers, and we could also notice when they were flying low over the sea, bringing fish on their beaks, since they feed primarily by diving in the water. They eat herring, sand eels, among many other small fish and zooplankton.
These seabirds are like auks and very often they breed together with razorbills, guillemots and other migratory birds in the open ocean, nesting in cliffs or rocky islands where they can easily make their nests collecting grass and feathers, in burrows not deeper than a meter underground. Their nests are always in places where predators (gulls or foxes) cannot easily reach.
The puffins wear their colorful and triangle beak looking more attractive during the breeding season, and shed the colorful part of the bill at the end of the summer, turning all in grey just before the winter starts.
Scientists say puffins flap their wings up to 400 times per minute and that is the reason it is not so easy to take good pictures while they are flying; nevertheless it will always be worthy to bring your camera and save the memory of this fantastic experience.
In the arctic, time flies like a puffin, come soon!
Here is a very short video of what we experienced: