Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Feeding behavior and nest site attendance of Atlantic puffins in Maine

September 2007 - December 2011


Participating Agencies

  • Quick Response

We have begun gathering data on the foraging behavior of Atlantic puffins in the Gulf of Maine by deploying temperature depth recorders on breeding birds at their nesting colony on Petit Manan Island, Maine. Data from the loggers allow us to estimate the distance to feeding areas, the frequency of diving, and the diving depth of individuals. When these data are paired with information on prey brought to the chicks we are able to develop for the first time, a relatively complete picture of the feeding ecology of this marine bird at the southern limit of its range. Our results should help the USFWS identify foraging locations of Atlantic puffins, and potential corridors of movement that are in need of protection. This is a critical need given the pressure to develop offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Maine, and our need to anticipate changing foraging sites under various global climate change scenarios.