The RSPB has launched a citizen science photography project to find out more about one of our best-loved seabirds.
Puffarazzi is a ground-breaking project which will help scientists learn more about puffins and what they are feeding their chicks, known as pufflings.
For this study, the RSPB would like visitors to puffin colonies around the UK and Ireland in spring and summer 2019 and 2020 to photograph these colourful seabirds with fish in their bills. This will help scientists to track how puffin food sources have changed over time.
With their colourful bills, distinctive eye markings and comical walk, puffins are a firm favourite for many people. Yet, these birds are in serious trouble with their numbers plummeting in former strongholds in the UK and Europe and the species is now classed as vulnerable to extinction.
This project aims to find out the causes of these UK declines which are likely to be related to a reduction in food availability caused by climate change. Scotland is one of the most important places for puffins, with 80 per cent of the UK and Ireland population breeding here.
In 2017, 602 members of the public joined the Puffarazzi and sent in 1,402 photos from almost 40 colonies. The photos have helped scientists identify areas where puffins are struggling to find the large, nutritious fish needed to support their pufflings. They revealed variations around the UK with some areas having far smaller fish for the puffins to feed on.
To find out more and to submit images go to the Project Puffin Website