Why Are So Many Maine Puffin Chicks Dying?
Maine is renowned for its natural recourses, and the Atlantic Puffin is one of them. Except this year there seems to be a problem, puffin chicks in Maine are not surviving at an alarming rate according to a report by centralmaine.com.
Of course the question is why? Maine is actually at the most southern point of the Atlantic Puffins breeding grounds. On average about 65% of puffin chicks would survive but, this years results range from 52% to 2% depending on the Maine Island that has breeding populations.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service feels that the two main factors holding back the Atlantic Puffin population in Maine is due to the warming Gulf of Maine temperatures, the fish that Puffins seek to feed their young has been ever more scarce. They simply can't locate the food they need to to encourage the growth of their chicks.
The other factor that had a huge effect on this years population of puffins was the unusually wet July Maine saw this year with several storms, the young chicks died of exposure.
The experts agree that climate change is the main cause for the lower population growth with food fish moving into colder waters, and storms becoming more frequent.
The puffins are relatively long lived birds living on average to 30+ years of age, so the experts are hoping for a rebound in coming years but you never know.
If I was you, take a boat trip out to see these amazing birds while we still have them around in Maine.
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