Illustrated: A Puffin Life Cycle

an egg sits in a nest in a hole in the ground

The place I am born is dark and earthy. Above me, the light shines in through the single entrance to my small and cozy home. The air is salty, and I wonder what is out there.

a puffin holds fish in it's beak, while a puffin chick looks at the fish expectantly

My parents take turns bringing me snacks. Throughout the day, they will appear again and again with small fish in their beaks. Rockfish and sand lance, sometimes squid and krill. All my favorites!

two black oystercatchers stand on grassy ground, and there is a view of the Oregon coastline

When I am big enough, and when my feathers are fully waterproof, I get to look outside. There’s so much to see!

one puffin takes off in flight, while another watches from the hillside

My parents teach me to fly--they are so fast and strong!

a juvenile puffin sits on the hillside with open wings

After some practice, I will be too.

a puffin that is full dark (no breeding plumage) flies through the sky

As the summer ends, I go out to sea. I spend my days flying and taking in the sights, resting on the gentle waves, and diving down deep to catch my keep.

a puffin is diving underwater to catch fish

I spend 2-3 years on the open water, until I am ready for the next stage of my life…

two puffins float in the water and their rub beaks together affectionately

...It’s time to find a mate. We are all dressed for the occasion, with bright white faces and cream colored tufts, unlike our dark winter plumage. I am careful about choosing the right bird for me! We mate for life, you know.

haystack rock is shown at sunset

In April we will scour the coast to find a good place to nest. Hm, this one looks familiar...

haystack rock blurry, from far away

haystack rock, slightly closer, a dark hole can be seen

an egg sits in the aforementioned hole at haystack rock

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