Sunday, September 1, 2019

Canada’s most adorable bird

An improbability of puffins
Watercolour and marker
©2019 Charlene Brown

Groups of puffins have been given several names, ranging from ‘colony’ to ‘improbability.’  

Hard to say where 'improbability' came from, but it may relate to their ability to fly.  Actually they do very well flapping about and diving to catch fish, often surfacing with several in their big beaks – once they manage to take off.  It’s just getting airborne that looks like an improbability. The only way they seem to be able to get going is to fall off the grassy ledge at the end of their burrow, beating their wings (and their feet, I think) as fast as they can.

We went out in a boat to see a cliff-face colony or improbability on an island in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.  You can’t go ashore of course, so I took dozens of blurry pictures of these adorable birds while bouncing around on the boat.  The blurriest among them were the ones trying to take off seemed like the only way to get them in focus was to paint them.