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Exploring the Puffin Paradise of Norway

There are a few places in the Nordics that are considered the go-to places for spotting Puffins, one of which is Norway. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just someone who would like to tick seeing the funny-looking bird from the movie Madagascar off your to-do list, this article will assist.

We tell you everything from precisely what makes the Puffins in Norway such an incredibly interesting and special sight to when and where to see them during your trip to the country.

Puffins in Norway

What Makes the Puffin Bird So Special?

Puffins are odd-looking seabirds about 25 centimeters in length. They somewhat resemble black and white penguins with big, colorful beaks. But what many don’t know is that their beaks aren’t always so colorful.

This is simply nature’s way of making them more “attractive” to a potential mate during their breeding season (which is the only time we really get to see them as they live out at sea for the rest of the year with their dull grey beaks). But these birds are pretty incredible. Just look at the following interesting facts:

  • Puffins are also called “sea parrots” or “clowns of the sea” due to their colorful beaks.

  • They are carnivorous and live off of small fish and eels, which they can, astoundingly, dive for at a depth of up to 60 meters underwater.

  • But they are not just impressive divers. Unlike penguins, they are great flyers. They can flap their wings over 400 times per minute and reach speeds of up to 88 kilometers an hour!

  • They only come “home” and onto dry land during their breeding season. The rest of the time, they can be found far out in the ocean, either swimming and hunting or resting on the waves, bobbing around.

  • Puffins are not solitary creatures; you will find them flocked together (pun intended) either out on the ocean or in their respective colonies when on land. They also generally stick to one partner, with many Puffin “couples” having been together for over 20 years (which is pretty much a lifetime in Puffin terms)!

  • Puffins do not nest like other birds; they, like penguins, have burrows that they dig out with their sharp beaks and claws. The far end of their burrow is usually kept warm and cozy with a lining of feathers and grass.

  • The female might be the one laying the egg, but both the mom and dad take turns hatching their little Puffling (and yes, that is really the adorable name for a baby Puffin). It also doesn’t take very long for a Puffling to hatch, and they can appear between 36 and 45 days.

  • It’s not just big gulls and other predators that threaten the Puffins. Pollution and overfishing are steadily decreasing their numbers worldwide, so it’s our shared responsibility to ensure that these little guys have the best chance at survival.

Norway Puffin

The Puffin Population in Norway

By now, we should’ve at least answered your question regarding whether there are Puffins in Norway. But it gets a bit more complicated than that. You see, there are actually three different types of Puffins: the Horned Puffin, the Tufted Puffin, and the Atlantic Puffin. The type of Puffin one can see in Norway is the Atlantic Puffin. And, as long as you pick the right time to come and see them, you will see plenty, with Norway being home to roughly 30% of the global population.

When is the Best Time to See the Puffins in Norway?

Puffin season in Norway officially starts around mid-April and comes to an end in August. Most will suggest coming for a Puffin spotting trip during June and August when the Puffins are most active and you’ll actually get to see some of the Puffling cuties before they head on out to sea with mom and dad.

Where to See Puffins in Norway

The following are some of the best places to see the Puffins in Norway:

Lovund Island

Lovund is probably the most famous place for spotting Puffins here in Norway. The island lies just off the Helgeland coast, and although just under 20 square kilometers in size, it boasts the biggest colony of Puffins each breeding season (roughly around 300 000 Puffins!).

Runde Island

The next best spot is probably Runde Island that’s often referred to as the Puffin Capital. Here, thousands of Puffins can be spotted all along the cliffs and the shoreline, just waiting for you to take a snapshot of them.

Puffin in Norway

Bleiksoya in Vesteralen

Bleiksoya is another small island that can be found in Vesteralen in Norway. But this small island can certainly take a punch, with another big Puffin colony of about 50 000 birds calling this island home each year during the breeding season.

Rost in the Lofoten Archipelago

Ironically, this little island is the largest in the Archipelago and another Puffin hot spot in Norway. The remoteness is believed to attract the Puffins the most since it means serene and safe breeding grounds.

Jan Mayen

This little volcanic island is a favorite among birdwatchers, and things simply get better whenever the Puffins arrive. But the surrounding waters can be quite treacherous for these birds during such a vulnerable time in their life cycle since Jan Mayen is also popular among various species of whales and seals.

Puffin with fish in Norway

Take a Drive and Then a Cruise

If you rent a motorhome in Norway to travel around the country with, it is possible to spot the Puffins along the coastline or from the shore, but for the ultimate Puffin spotting experience, we highly recommend that you take a drive and then book a cruise on a boat tour.

Not only is this quite a thrilling experience in general, but you’ll get to see these incredible birds up close in their most natural surroundings. You might also get the chance to spot some of our other incredible sea life, such as whales, seals, and other impressive bird species that will make any avid birdwatcher's day. But whichever way you choose to search for these remarkable birds, we wish you nothing but the best on your Puffin expedition here in Norway.  

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