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Puffin Found in Volusia County, Thousands of Miles from Home

ⓒ Marine Science Center

An Atlantic puffin was found on the beach in Ponce Inlet this past weekend, hundreds of miles from the species’ native habitat. The bird, which primarily lives in arctic latitudes, was turned in to a bird rescue sanctuary.

Rare Puffin Found

According to the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, who took the bird in, this was the first instance in recorded history of a puffin being observed in Volusia County. Around 60% of species’ population lives and breeds in Iceland, according to an informational statement put out by the Science Center. Usually, Maine is about as far south as the birds tend to go, making Florida a highly unusual place to find one. They also occur in Greenland and Canada.

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The bird was found on the beach by Karin Clemson Henigan and Alicia De Barreno, who helped transport the bird into the hands of the Marine Science Center. There, after initially suspicions about the bird’s identity were relieved, they began to try and care for it. Sadly, it was in too poor a state of health to be rehabilitated. “Unfortunately after doing everything possible to save the bird, it was just too dehydrated to make it,” the Science Center said. “We do not know why or how the puffin came to find itself on our Florida beach.”

A Trend of Roaming Beasts?

Curiously, the discovery of the puffin marks the second time in just a few months that a marine animal was spotted in Florida despite usually occurring nowhere near the Sunshine State. In December of last year a gray whale was confirmed to have been sighted off the coast of Haulover Inlet near Miami. Gray whales have been considered extinct in the Atlantic Ocean for over two centuries, making the appearance extremely unusual.

Gray whales are common throughout the northern Pacific Ocean, including California, Mexico, Canada, and Alaska, and is thought to have reached Floridian waters through the northwest passage. The same whale was spotted again this week off Nantucket, Massachusetts.

The gray whale spotted off southern Florida’s Atlantic coast in December 2023.

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. tboat221@yahoo.com

    March 10, 2024 at 11:32 pm

    There’s a huge community of puffins on the Blasket Islands off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.

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