Join the Puffarazzi to help protect and conserve the threatened “clowns of the sea”

Puffin, credit Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

One of the most famous bird charity’s in the UK, RSPB (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), has launched its latest citizen science photography project – Puffarazzi.

What is ‘Puffarazzi’?

Similar to 2017’s project, people who visit puffin colonies around the UK and Ireland this spring and summer, as well as next spring and summer too, are being encouraged to photograph the colourful puffins with fish in their bills. In a bid to further aid conservation efforts, the public can now submit their historical photographs of these birds (with the fish in its mouth) because all of these images will help scientists discover what they are – and have been – feeding their chicks, which are known as pufflings, and how these sources have changed over time.

Why is it important? 

Puffin 1, credit Ben Andrew

© Ben Andrew

Puffins are easy to identify with their multicoloured bills and their unique eye markings. However, did you know that their numbers across the UK and Europe have plummeted so drastically that they are now considered to be vulnerable to extinction? It’s hoped that the Puffarazzi project will help reveal the causes behind these declines, which are believed to most likely be linked to a reduction the food they have available to them as a result of climate change.

Who can take part?

As the leader of this project, Ellie Owen’s, explains “Anyone can join the Puffarazzi – back in 2017, our youngest volunteer was just 11-years-old – and if you took part two years ago, you can do so again.” In 2017, more than 600 people got involved submitting over 1,400 photos of fish-carrying puffins. These images have helped experts identify the colonies that are struggling to locate large, nutritious fish for their offspring. 

How can I capture the best pictures?

There are useful guidelines on the project’s website that will help ensure you get the best snaps whilst also keeping yourself, and the birds, safe and undisturbed. This includes not spending longer than a few minutes photographing the animals, keeping noise and movements to a minimum, and remaining at least five metres away at all times.

Where do I sign up?

You can find out more information about this year’s project and upload your own photos by visiting www.rspb.org.uk.projectpuffinUK.

Puffin flying with prey_credit Ben Andrew

© Ben Andrew

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