The puffins in the Westman Islands are taking off at a usual time of the year, after having left the country late for the last 17 years.
Erpur Snær Hansen, head of South Iceland Nature Research Centre, says that the puffins have taken off to southern pastures 2-3 weeks later than they’ve done historically. This has been the case for the last 17 years, but this year it looks like the puffins will revert back to the departure time they had stuck to for the 60 years before that. They’ve started showing signs that they’re getting ready to leave the Westman Island. “It’s a good sign,” said Erpur who expects that the puffins will have departed by the end of August.
Both the Westman Islands and Breiðafjörður bay saw a drastic dropoff in puffin egg-laying rates this summer. Over 60% of the Icelandic puffin population lays eggs in these two places.
The usage rate of puffin nests was 57% in Breiðafjörður this year, down from 83% the year before. The rate was 57% in the Westman Islands, falling down from 78% the year before.
Despite this, Erpur says that the young fared well which can be traced to an abundance of available food compare to the last couple of years.