Hard core birds

The puffin spends the majority of its life on the high seas, but must return to dry land to breed, even though they face many dangers when they do. The great black-backed is the largest of the world's gulls, and in a contest with the tiny puffin, there is usually only one winner. Fortunately, just occasionally, the puffin is able to dive underwater and escape from its attacker. To avoid predators on land, puffins nest underground in old rabbit burrows. Yet they seem unconcerned by cameraman Gordon Buchanan as he apporaches them slowly, to get a better view. The characteristic view of a puffin with a mouthful of sand eels has puzzled Gordon for many years, as he believed they simply dived into a shoal and caught the mouthful in one go. He has since learned that this is not the case and puffins catch sand eels individually. They have small barbs on the beak to make sure the fish go in but don't come out. Puffins are hardy little birds that weather the entire winter out in the north Atlantic, huddled together in little rafts, and not returning to the shore until April the following year.

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