Puffin, 34, found in Scottish isle bird colony
Europe’s oldest puffin is alive and well and living in Scotland.
Bird ringers working for the British Trust for Ornithology were on an expedition to the Shiant Isles in the Minch when they rediscovered the 34-year-old bird. It was originally ringed on June 28, 1975.
They also found a puffin which was originally tagged on June 27, 1977, by Ian Buxton, a member of this year’s team.
The previous record for the oldest puffin in Europe was set by a 33-year-old Icelandic bird.
David Steventon, founder of the Shiants Auk Ringing Group and a member of the original expeditions in the 1970s, said: “These longevity records were almost inevitable, as ringing data shows that adult survival rates are about 92%. Therefore we would expect that about 25 of the 441 birds ringed in 1975 will still be alive and could be recaught in 2009.”
Mark Grantham, a research ecologist with the trust, added: “These two record-breakers show that, to understand these birds, you can’t just pop in and out of colonies.
“We need to study them over many decades to know what’s going on.”
The Shiant Isles are a small group of islands between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland.
Both the birds were caught in the puffin colony on the north slope of Rough Island (Garbh Eilean) earlier this month.