Puffins: The seabird cities that occupy the next coastal zone inland: At breeding time, seabirds occupy the next coastal zone inland ufabet – the land itself. Towering above the rocks of the splash and intertidal zones are sea cliffs, the nesting sites of puffins, guillemots and other seabirds.
Puffins: The seabird cities
They spend most of their lives at sea, where they dive below the waves and with stubby wings almost ‘fly’ underwater in pursuit of fish and squid, but at breeding time they must leave the sea and return to the land. Puffins dig tunnels or take over rabbit burrows on cliff tops and guillemots occupy ledges further down. They often form breeding colonies ufabet containing thousands of birds.
During the long days of the brief Arctic summer, the small island of Hornøya in the Barents Sea, the most easterly point in Norway, is host to more than 15,000 common guillemots and 7,800 Atlantic puffins, and they are joined on the cliffs by kittiwakes, razorbills, and shags. Nesting nearby are colonies of herring gulls and isolated pairs of great black-backed gulls.
Seabird researchers are at odds over why seabirds gather together in such large numbers. Some say that it is a case of ‘predator swamping’: with so many ufabet eggs and chicks, predators are quickly sated. There are also more birds to mount a defence, and large numbers of seabirds swirling about in the air will probably confuse potential attackers.
On the other hand, seabird colonies are extremely noisy, unbelievably smelly and very conspicuous from a considerable distance. They are likely to attract unwelcome attention, making the birds and their offspring vulnerable. There are benefits, though.
Birds on the cliffs watch those returning from fishing excursions, checking out those carrying small fish in their bills. They give away the direction of the best feeding grounds so the watchers head out in the right direction to fish for themselves.