Title: Atlantic Puffins in Iceland
Media: Oil on canvas
Some three to four million pairs, or over half the world’s Atlantic puffins, breed, nest, and raise their young in Iceland each year.
Including those without a pair, some eight to ten million sojourns for the summer, losing their grey-faced winter plumage as their beaks become vividly coloured and their faces white.
To feed their chicks, they catch and hold many small fish in neat rows in their beaks, on average 10 at a time (although the record is 62!)
The puffin’s raspy tongue holds each fish against the spines on its palate while they open its beaks to catch more fish.
Each spring, as the warm breezes begin to blow, puffins return to the place where they were born and raised.
At sea, they seek to pair for the first time or reunite with their lifetime mates and go ashore to breed on the sea-facing cliffs at the nesting site where they previously raised their young.
The lifespan of a puffin is typically a little over 20 years but can be as long as 30 years.