Here is the local favorite area of our Horned and Tufted puffins. You can tell the two species apart if you remember that "Tough Guys Wear Black." The tufted puffin's body is entirely black with distinctive long yellow "tufts" of feathers on either side of their head. Horned puffins have a white belly and black back. These puffins come to land only to lay their eggs and raise their young. Puffins spend most of their lives about 400 miles away from here in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. Each puffin pair will lay one egg a season. Their strategy is to bring their chick into a perfect world at a perfect time.
When they first arrive here in early May if they find the food lacking they will return to the ocean for a time. When there are plenty of small, oily fish to eat they will stay, breed on the water, return to the same nesting site they've held in years past and lay one egg. The male and female birds share nesting duties and when the chick hatches they share feeding duties. As the boat approaches the rock walls of this area look for puffins tucked up in the cracks in the rocks. This is where the Horned puffins nest. The Tufted puffins nest further up the cliff side where there is grass to dig in and make burrows in which to lay their egg. However, Tufted puffins will sometimes sit on these ledges as well.