2022 Puffin and Petrel Season Recap
Although the public portion of this summer puffin patrol was suspended, it was still a wonderful year! Thanks to CPAWS NL, ECCC-CWS and Trent University, 91 juvenile puffins were measured and successfully released this fledging season.
While this number may seem lower than other years, it is consistent with what would be expected based on moon phase and mean body mass. “We hope that next year we can resume the public puffin patrol,” states Suzanne Dooley, Conservation Director of CPAWS NL. “The hotline that was implemented was successful and we hope to incorporate it again next season. Thank you to all residents who helped dim lights and reported sightings!”
In addition, Taylor Brown, PhD Candidate with Trent University conducted studies on the impact of lights on puffling fledgings (which was approved by ECCC-CWS) this past season.
“This past August, you may have seen my bright experiment light shining out over the water at Witless Bay’s Lower Pond beach and Ragged Beach some evenings. My experiment ran for 11 nights total, and was a great success! Without getting too deep into the details, it did appear that my bright light attracted pufflings”, explains Taylor Brown. “We made sure to count all the pufflings we saw, as well as document their behaviour in detail, and we made every effort to capture puffins that might have been brought into town by our lights.”
Brown, plans to assess her data further during the winter. “I would like to thank CPAWS NL, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Town of Witless Bay for all of their essential support of this project. I look forward to coming back next year and working with these wonderful organizations and the communities again to figure out how we can prevent pufflings from getting stranded in town!”
During the fall months, during September to mid-November, Leach’s Storm-Petrel chicks begin their migration seawards. Like pufflings, many juvenile Leach’s Storm-Petrels unfortunately become thrown off-course due to strong winds and light pollution from the coasts.
This past season, with help from The Rock Wildlife, ECCC-CWS, MUN, and many others 848 juvenile petrels were able to be found and safely released to continue their migration!