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Scientists ask bird oglers to help study puffins

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 1:21am
Patrick Whittle - Associated Press - Associated Press
 
              In this photo made Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, an Atlantic puffin flies back to its burrow after catching a beak full of small fish to feed its chicks on Eastern Egg Rock, a small island off the coast of Maine. The Audubon Society, which maintains three web cameras on another island, wants bird lovers to contribute research to a project scientists hope will help save Atlantic puffins in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

EASTERN EGG ROCK, Maine (AP) — The Audubon Society wants bird lovers to contribute to a project scientists hope will help save Atlantic puffins in Maine.

There are about 1,000 pairs of the seabirds in the state. The National Audubon says the number of fledging puffin chicks has declined in the last two years.

Puffins have been giving butterfish to their young instead of herring and hake, which are leaving for cooler waters. But butterfish are too big for puffin chicks to eat, and many starve and die.

Audubon maintains three web cameras on Seal Island, one of Maine's key puffin habitats. Audubon wants residents to monitor feeding behavior and answer questions.

From 2007 to 2011, 77 percent of puffin pairs on Seal Island produced fledglings, declining to 10 percent in 2013.

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Online: —http://explore.org/live-cams/player/puffin-burrow-cam.

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