Puffin Love Flies High in Maine

Penguin lookalikes need 24-hour protection from swooping gulls
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2007 5:28 PM CDT
Puffin Love Flies High in Maine
Jeff Kimmons and Delaney Burke, crew members of Project Puffin, row ashore from a supply boat moored near Eastern Egg Rock, Maine, Monday, June 25, 2007. The 7-acre island is located about five miles offshore in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Puffin-love is flying high in Maine, where hundreds of these penguin look-a-likes are lured by wooden decoys and given 24-hour protection, the AP reports. Supervisors endure screeching gulls and pooping dive-bombers to protect these finned waddlers and their nests. So just what are puffins? Birds that look like penguins, but live on the other end of the world and can fly as well as swim.

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The head of a bird restoration program is behind the plan to bring puffins back to Maine, where they flourished more than 100 years ago. The problem is gulls that swoop down and rob puffin chicks from their nests. When the protection goes away, so will the puffins. "Sometimes people say, 'How long are you going to have to do this?' In this project, we don't see an end." (Read more Puffins stories.)

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