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The Decline of the Puffin

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Numbers are down at least 30%. Researchers believe the decline is linked to changes in the North Sea food web, perhaps related to climate change. Birds are also arriving underweight, which is "worrying", because puffins are generally able to feed on a range of creatures in winter. "So whatever the problem is, it's got to be a widespread one." The suspicion is that climate change is altering the distribution of plankton across the North Sea. This disrupts the entire food web, including predators such as puffin. "This fits in with other evidence that North Sea birds have been desperately short of food over several seasons. But those have been birds such as the Arctic tern and kittiwake which only feed in the top part of the sea. This is probably the best adapted seabird that the UK has; they're deep divers, they're specialists in going down deep into the water column to find fish, so it's troubling to find that they're encountering a shortage of food."

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