Atlantic Puffins in Newfoundland live at sea and spend most of their lives in open ocean. Early in May each year, they return by the hundreds of thousands to the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve – the largest breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins in North America!
This is their home for the next four months or so. Nesting in the shelter burrows dug into the side of the islands, they are extremely devoted parents spend their days caring for their single chick. A tour with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch (only minutes from St. John’s) offers a great opportunity to observe and learn about these incredible creatures.
Puffins are excellent swimmers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet to control direction. They hunt a variety of small fish including capelin and sand lance. Puffins do not come to land outside of the breeding season, but spend their time flying, preening, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather.
A visit to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch is a fabulous opportunity to see theses incredible creatures in person. With upwards of 500,000 pairs of puffins nesting on the islands of the Reserve, there is really no better place to see them. The best time to see puffins with Gatherall’s is from mid May through to mid September with a few thousand stragglers hanging on a little later in September.