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In One Ear: Picking up pufflings

Couple saves pufflings in Newfoundland
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 17, 2018 12:01AM

In Cannon Beach, they love their puffins. They do in Irish Loop, Newfoundland, too. From August to October, the Witless Bay Puffin & Petrel Patrol launches their annual puffling (yes, it’s a real word for baby puffins) rescue efforts, reports (

Juergen (aka Puffin Man) and Elfie Schau started the patrol in 2004. “We were walking down the roads and we saw several dead birds in the morning, and we wondered what happened,” Juergen said. He is pictured in a screenshot from a minidocumentary by Sebastien Despres (; a puffling is pictured from the group’s Facebook page, Puffin & Petrel Patrol NL.

If pufflings first set out from their nests toward the ocean to find food at night, they follow the moon. Juergen came to realize that on moonless nights, the artificial lighting from headlights and streetlights disorients the birds, causing many to be killed by cars. His solution was simple and effective: scoop the pufflings up at night, then release them the next day.

Now puffling rescue has become popular with both the locals and tourists, and their efforts have paid off. Juergen estimates that overall, more than 10,000 puffins have been rescued.


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