Return to the Isle of Puffins
A study of the factors influencing breeding site selection and attendance of Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) on Lundy
Blet-Charaudeau, C., Marshall, K., Sherman, G., Leaver, L. & Lea, S.E.G. (2010) Journal of the Lundy Field Society 2:91-104
Abstract
A remnant population of Atlantic Puffins [Fratercula arctica] occupies Lundy. This study set out to describe the decline in Puffin numbers on Lundy and conduct an initial investigation into the factors mediating colony attendance and breeding site selection. Counts took place at St Philip's Stone over 19 days from 2 July to 4 August 2008. Wind speed (knots), rainfall (mm), air temperature (degC), mean numbers of Herring Gulls and time of day were analsysed as predictors of the mean number of Puffins in a stepwise regression. Attendance was significantly higher in the evening than at midday, but numbers were not significantly higher in the morning compared to numbers at midday. A novel finding showed that attendance decreased as temperature increased. Effects of wind speed and rainfall approached significance, and gull numbers had no effect on attendance, but observations suggest that Puffins benefited from their presence. In a within-site analyis of St Philip's Stone, non-parametric tests indicated pairs which bred successfully were located close to a cliff edge and in areas occupied by other auks. In a between-site analysis of the site register data, presence of Puffins was more likely when Guillemots and Razorbills occupied the area. Puffins were mainly present on the west side of the island. This study signifies that ecological variables influence Puffin breeding site selection and attendance, but future work is needed for increased reliability.

Keywords: Atlantic Puffin, Lundy, population evolution, colony attendance, breeding site selection, conservation.


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