A circus of puffins on the Isle of May

Every year on Scotland’s Isle of May, thousands of puffins return from a winter at sea.
Every year on Scotland’s Isle of May, thousands of puffins return from a winter at sea to mate in burrows underground. As they arrive in spring, so do a team of ornithologists and conservationists and in this programme the team are joined by presenters Emily Knight and Becky Ripley who make a series of visits throughout the season to follow the breeding season and live the life of a puffin researcher, spending their days in the company of the clowns of the sea on this remote island with a captivating history. 

Producer: Tom Bonnett
Puffin counting on the Isle of May
The number of puffins has dropped since the 1970s so researchers have been checking in on some newborn pufflings to try and work out why.

Heavy rain kills baby birds off Northumberland coast

Puffins fighting
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Seabirds nesting on the Farne Islands in Northumberland have been hit by heavy rain which killed many of their young, the National Trust has said.

Arctic terns, puffins, guillemots and shags all suffered losses as chicks including pufflings - baby puffins - were battered by nearly 5in (13cm) of rain in 24 hours on 13 June.

Gwen Potter, countryside manager for the National Trust, said: "The significant rainfall sadly caused many ground-nesting Arctic tern chicks to perish due to exposure to the elements.

"We don't know the full impact yet but estimate that tern numbers are likely to dip by up to 35% this year.

"We also know that 300 pufflings perished on one of the islands. Puffins are ground-nesting birds and unfortunately their burrows flooded. "