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A Puffin Comeback

A puffin carrying fish for its chicks prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock, Maine. ROBERT F. BUKATY—AP

Atlantic puffins have made a comeback in Maine. More of these seabirds have been able to raise chicks. This has happened two years in a row.

There are 3,000 puffins in Maine. They live on rocky islands off the coast. Only a quarter of the birds raised chicks in 2021. That number is now about three-quarters.

A Lot to Learn The good news comes as a surprise. Maine’s waters have gotten warmer. Scientists thought this would mean fewer fish for puffins to eat. But this year, there were plenty of fish.

Don Lyons is a scientist. He works for the National Audubon Society. He says people can’t always predict how climate change will affect an ecosystem. “This year is a good example of how complex things are. We still have a lot to learn.”

Scientists say birds are still in danger. They suffer heat waves and loss of food. But Maine’s puffins seem to be thriving. At least, for now. “Likely, the population is stable,” Lyons says. “It could still be growing.”