Magazine article USA TODAY

Puffins' Winter Journey into Spring

Magazine article USA TODAY

Puffins' Winter Journey into Spring

Article excerpt

The first-ever mapped winter grounds of the Maine-breeding Atlantic Puffin, a species of conservation concern, have been released by the National Audubon Society, New York. Geolocation data helped discover surprising winter pathways and migration timing for where puffins spend much of their year when they are not at their nesting islands.

"Potential threats of commercial fishing, offshore wind, and climate change have prompted the need for information on the nonbreeding movements and wintering locations of seabirds that nest in the Gulf of Maine," explains Stephen Kress, director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program. "The discovery that Maine's Puffins winter over submerged Atlantic canyons and sea mountains provides another reason to protect these areas."

Once common along Maine's coast, Atlantic Puffins nearly disappeared from there due to hunting and egg collecting in the 1800s. Since 1973, Audubon's Seabird Restoration Program, pioneered by Kress, has restored breeding Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds to islands off the coast of Maine. …

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