The Atlantic puffin is the official bird of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Biodôme drew its inspiration from Labrador, in fact, when designing its Arctic ecosystem, where Atlantic puffins, razorbill auks, common murres and king eiders live together in harmony.
These colony-forming birds, often called sea parrots, also live in Quebec; they are found in a number of seabird colonies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, for instance on Brion, Bonaventure and Anticosti islands and in the Mingan Archipelago.
In the spring, puffins perform their courting rituals out at sea..
They have a whole range of very showy rituals.
To attract females, the males:
Puffins mate quite discreetly. They may sometimes make attempts near the nest, but most of the time they actually mate at sea.
The first video is from our ecosystem; the second was shot in the wild.
In the wild, puffins make their nests:
At the Biodôme, they live in burrows made specially for them.
Both partners help to incubate the single egg, which weighs about 40 grams. Since a puffin’s “brood patch” is located on its side, they keep the egg under their wings, next to their bodies.
- Reproductive age: 4 to 5 years old
An average of 5 to 7 puffin chicks are born at the Biodôme every year.
The animal attendants are kept very busy during that period.
They check the chick’s general health every day.
The chick is weighed to make sure that the parents are feeding their sole offspring properly.
The chick is fed a small fish full of vitamins.
Finally, a bowl of fish is placed in the burrow so that the parents can feed their chick themselves.
As the chick grows, it learns to serve itself.
In the wild, the parents leave fish on the ground in the burrow.
Atlantic puffin chicks are said to be “semiprecocial.”
They are born with their eyes open and their bodies covered in down. They can already leave the nest.
But they remain in the nest and the parents take care of them until they are almost adult size.
From chick to adult...
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