North Berwick drivers warned over hidden puffins

Image caption,
Several lost pufflings have been rescued from North Berwick in recent years

Motorists in an East Lothian town have been asked to check for disorientated young puffins - known as pufflings - hiding under their vehicles.

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick said pufflings regularly wander into the town by mistake after leaving their burrows for the first time.

They often settle underneath cars after searching for somewhere dark to hide.

North Berwick lies on the coast of the Firth of Forth, which houses large puffin colonies on its islands.

Staff at the seabird centre said puffins around Scotland's coastline are due to leave their breeding burrows and return to the sea over the next few weeks.

However, some pufflings become disorientated by the lights from neighbouring towns.

The Seabird Centre has, in previous years, been alerted to numerous lost pufflings - including one that was found wandering along a corridor in North Berwick's Marine Hotel.

Another was found hiding under a vehicle in the local supermarket car park.

The centre's chief executive, Tom Brock appealed for drivers in North Berwick and the surrounding area to be vigilant and to contact the Seabird Centre or the Scottish SPCA if they discover a lost puffling.

Mr Brock said: "This is a key time of year for our puffins as they head out to sea after the breeding season. However, as pufflings literally fly the nest, their parents leave for sea without them. The young can become disorientated and head into town.

"My request to people along in and around North Berwick to look under your car - you may find a cute young puffin. Puffins are wonderful seabirds and an important part of our marine ecology. They are also very popular and an important part of Scotland's growing wildlife tourism economy."

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