The Quest for Atlantic Puffins

Atlantic Puffin Bird
Atlantic Puffin in Flight

The legendary Île aux Perroquets

In August of 2019, I took a trip to Canada with my dear friend Andy Hays, to whom I owe my love affair with birds, Mike Parr, the president of the American Bird Conservancy and Shoaib Tareen, a board member. I had the sole goal of seeing and photographing the Atlantic Puffins there. They are known for having a colony at Île aux Perroquets – a very small island that is a part of Quebec. It  is known not only for its legendary lighthouse, but its tiny size – 350 meters long and less than 100 meters wide. There is little foot traffic, which makes for a wonderful bird photography experience.

Inclement weather won’t stop these birds

To get to the Atlantic Puffins, we flew to Montreal, then from Montreal, on a small plane to Sept-Îles, Quebec. From Sept-Îles, we took a 45-minute boat ride to Île aux Perroquets where we stayed for three days. The Puffins blew me away. These birds are so adorable, it’s hard to miss making a great shot of them, but to be honest, it’s not so easy. Though there was a heatwave in my hometown Chicago, when I got to the Puffins, the temperatures were in the 20’s, with heavy winds, sleet, and blinding snow. We put rain protectors on our cameras, with the lenses ready to shoot. This little puffin was covered and dripping wet in the morning sleet. So was I. He didn’t seem to mind it, but I was chilled to the bone. Still, I loved the bird photography on the island and especially photographing him. We all had a great time.

Posed Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffins love to pose

It did stop raining long enough for us to get more exciting bird photography opportunities. As you know, when you are lucky enough to be in a place where the birds gather near or on trees and shrubs, flowers and vibrant greenery,  you have the perfect setting for making beautiful shots. These two puffins took a little rest on a cluster of rocks surrounded by flowers after they flew in from a trip to sea to bring back fish to their nesting pufflings. They literally posed for our pictures. If you have a chance to go to see the Puffins and a strong constitution, don’t miss it. They are a bird photographer’s dream.

Two Atlantic Puffins on a rock

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