January 14, 2017
2927 CANADA (Newfoundland and Labrador) - Atlantic puffin colony in Witless Bay Ecological Reserve
The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), also known as the common puffin, is a species of seabird in the auk family. It is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean, and breeds in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland and many North Atlantic islands. Although it has a large population and a wide range, the species has declined rapidly, resulting in it being rated as vulnerable by the IUCN. This puffin has a black crown and back, pale grey cheek patches and white underparts. Its broad, boldly marked red and black beak and orange legs contrast with its plumage.
Spending the autumn and winter in the open ocean of the cold northern seas, the Atlantic puffin returns to coastal areas at the start of the breeding season in late spring. It nests in clifftop colonies, digging a burrow in which a single white egg is laid. The chick mostly feeds on whole fish and grows rapidly. It swims away from the shore and doesn't return to land for several years. Colonies are mostly on islands where there are no terrestrial predators.
The largest colony in the western Atlantic (estimated at more than 260,000 pairs) can be found at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, south of St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. The reserve consists of four islands: Gull Island, Green Island, Great Island, and Pee Pee Island. Immense numbers of birds nest on these islands during the seabird breeding season, roughly from 1 April through 1 September. The Atlantic puffin is the official bird symbol for the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
About the stamp
The second stamp is part of the multi-years series UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada, about which I wrote here.
Witless Bay Ecological Reserve - Wikipedia
Atlantic puffin - Wikipedia
Sender: Trupti Patel (direct swap)
Sent from Witless Bay Ecological Reserve (Newfoundland and Labrador / Canada), on 22.12.2016
Photo: Sherman Hines / Masterfile