Join the Puffarazzi on the Farne Islands

Puffins at the Farne Islands, Northumbria

Puffins are in the spotlight, and scientists need your help this summer with important research. The RSPB has launched a new citizen science project and if you are coming to the Farnes this summer you can take part and help.

Scientists need you to become part of the ‘Puffarazzi’ and take photographs of the birds carrying fish in their bills.

Puffarazzi is the citizen science element of Project Puffin (UK), an innovative project, funded by HLF, which combines the latest technology with citizen science to tackle three of the biggest challenges hampering conservation efforts for these charismatic birds; discovering more about what puffins feed their chicks, where they go to find food and how their numbers are changing. The RSPB is hoping that with the help of the citizen scientists and the latest technology, it can tackle some of the greatest challenges facing the conservation of puffins, including finding out what puffins feed their chicks.
 
Puffins are one of our best loved seabirds, with their colourful bills and eye markings. But in recent years their numbers across the UK and Europe have plummeted, leading to the species being declared vulnerable to global extinction - with further declines of between 50-79 percent projected by 2065. Warming seas, caused by climate change, affect puffins’ food sources and are thought to be the main threat to their survival.
 
Dr Ellie Owen, RSPB Conservation Scientist and Puffarazzo-in-Chief, said: “Puffins are wonderful birds and one of the UK species we are most worried about. We are still uncertain why puffins are in decline but there is evidence that lack of food to raise chicks could be a key issue as we witness worryingly high breeding failures at some key colonies over recent years. We need to find out more about what puffins feed to their chicks and we need people’s help for this project. We know that there is great affection for these birds and this project will give everyone the chance to be part of the work being done to save them.”

Anyone can take part in the research following some easy steps. Of course we need to make sure the science is robust and that puffins aren’t disturbed, so there are few things people need to consider if they want to be Puffarazzi and help us in this project. To find out how to become a Puffarazzo and how to upload your photo visit www.rspb.org.uk/projectpuffin

On twitter look out for #projectpuffinUK