Royal Highland Show 2016
We have just had a fabulous weekend at the Royal Highland Show, which seems to get bigger and better each year! From the incredible Food Hall with all the top names in Scottish food and drink, to the parades of beautiful show horses, cows and sheep. We were just heading out the show, laden down with shopping, when we passed the RSPB tent and saw all the Puffins!
We have a little soft spot for Puffins here and The Dunstane, as our owners Derek and Shirley Mowat are from the Orkney Islands (think we’ve mentioned this a few times!). The ‘tammie norrie’, the Orcadian’s nickname for Puffins, are sadly critically endangered. Make sure you donate and pick up your pin badge at reception, show your support for these little guys!
We learnt a few interesting facts about the Puffin whilst hanging round the RSPB tent at the Highland Show and thought we’d share with you all…
Puffins in the Wild
There are RSPB reserves up and down the country, such as Coquet Island in Northumberland and Ramsay Island on the Pembrokshire coast. Puffin Islands can also be found around St Kilda, the Faroe Islands, Norway and of course the North Hill reserve on Papa Westray, Orkney!
The best place to see Puffins in the Orkney Islands is Castle of Burrian on Westray. You could spend hours sitting on the picturesque clifftops, watching the birds clumsily walking around. They are ungainly on dry land, like many Auks, but are graceful swimmers and divers. Apparently, you can also spot a few Puffins at Marwick Head, at the Old Man of Hoy, Copinsay and Noup Cliffs.
There are approximately 61,000 Puffins living in the Orkney Islands, however around 59,000 actually live on Sule Skerry, which is about 40 miles west of mainland Orkney
How Endangered Are Puffins?
Did you know, Puffins are as endangered as African Elephants and Lions? The UK Islands and coasts are home to around 90% of the world’s Puffin populations.
The increase in non-native and predatory rats is one of the main causes of the decline in Puffin numbers.
Puffins produce just one chick a year and so protecting the current colonies and their young is vital. The chicks are fed frequently and closely cared for, before they leave the nest alone.
Young Puffins tend to leave the nest around July time and heads out to sea. Incredibly, these youngsters won’t touch land for the first 2 years of it’s life! Instead, they fly, swims and dives around the north Atlantic and North Sea.
How Can You Help?
Figures suggest we will loose around 8 million of these beautiful birds over the next 50 years. Donations to the RSPB will help to ensure 70% of Puffins and chicks are protected from the predatory rats, with improved monitoring and control measures across the UK.
So next time you check in at The Dunstane, save on your stay by booking direct on our website or choose one of our year-round Special Offers. Then, when you arrive or leave, add a small donation to the RSPB collection box (pick up your Puffin pin!) and you’ll be doing your bit to help save these adorable little darlings!