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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Puffin chicks and parents at the Seattle Aquarium

This one-month-old tufted puffin chick is weighed by Sara Perry, lead bird biologist at the Seattle Aquarium, in a small, dark space behind the adult puffins enclosure where they have a burrow. It's the first time in 14 years that puffins have laid eggs at the aquarium, and within 10 days, two chicks hatched to two different mated pairs. Adult puffins generally mate for life and both adults take turns feeding the young. This chick weighs about 18 ounces. Its diet consists of herring, capelin, night smelt and silversides, all "restaurant quality" according to the aquarium. The chicks are weighed once a week and biologists frequently monitor the parents feeding behavior with the pufflings. Though puffins are not threatened or endangered, "many seabird species are in decline due to overfishing, climate change and other human impacts" says Lesanna Lahner, Seattle Aquarium veterinarian.