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Atlantic Puffin

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    Atlantic puffins gather on Eastern Egg Rock, a small island off the coast of Maine on July 20, 2019. One of the most beloved birds in Maine is having one of its most productive seasons for mating pairs in years on remote islands off the state's coast. Associated Press photos by Robert F. Bukaty

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    Research assistant Michael Rickershauser is dive-bombed by common tern as he records data in their nesting colony on Eastern Egg Rock, off the coast of Maine on July 18. Padding under his hat helps soften the jab of the pointed beak. The aggressive terns provide protection for puffins by chasing off predatory gulls.

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    An Atlantic puffin holds herring and other baitfish in its beak on Eastern Egg Rock. The bird's survival depends on the availability of baitfish in the vicinity of their nesting islands. Warming water caused by climate change has forced the fish to seek colder waters further offshore or at depths unreachable by the puffins.

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    National Audubon Society scientist Dr. Stephen Kress watches Atlantic puffins from a blind on Eastern Egg Rock off the coast of Maine. In 1973 Kress began his project to restore puffins to to their original nesting colonies on Maine islands. This year he expects the birds to set a record for the highest population of breeding pairs.

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    An Atlantic puffin swims near Eastern Egg Rock on July 21. Puffins spend their first three years at sea before returning to the colony where they were hatched.

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    Research assistant Andreinna Alvarez of Ecuador holds a puffin chick before weighing and banding the bird on Eastern Egg Rock. The chicks generally fledge in early August, leaving their burrows under the cover of darkness to avoid predatory gulls and eagles.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    Michael Rickershauser, foreground, and Sarah Guitart search for puffin burrows in the rock crevices on the shore of Eastern Egg Rock. Researchers have been gathering data on the island's restored seabird colonies for about four decades.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    An Atlantic puffin flies by a decoy on Eastern Egg Rock. The use of decoys helped attract puffins back to the island during the restoration project that started 45 years ago. Dr. Stephen Kress has used "social attraction" to restore many bird species to former nesting locations around the world.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    A raft of Atlantic puffins gathers near Eastern Egg Rock on July 20, 2019.

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    An Atlantic puffin jumps down into its nesting burrow in a rock crevice on Eastern Egg Rock. The monogamous birds raise one chick per year when baitfish is available.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    An Atlantic puffin stands on a rock as a tour boat passes Eastern Egg Rock. The nesting seabirds attract several bird-watching cruises that circle the island until the birds return to sea in August.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    An Atlantic puffin rests on Eastern Egg Rock. The beaks of puffins become brightly colored during the breeding season. The color fades during their winter months at sea.

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    A common tern guards its nest on Eastern Egg Rock. Terns were successfully restored to the island to help protect puffins from predatory gulls.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    An Atlantic puffin comes in for a landing on Eastern Egg Rock. One of the most beloved birds in Maine is having one of its most productive seasons for mating pairs in years on remote islands off the state's coast.

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    Atlantic Puffin - AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty | of | Share this photo

    An Atlantic puffin stands in the early morning sunlight on Eastern Egg Rock on July 20, 2019.

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    An Atlantic puffin beats its wings after emerging from its nesting burrow on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    An Atlantic puffin flies with fish in its beak as it returns to its nesting burrow at sunset on Eastern Egg Rock on July 19, 2019.

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