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Puffins’ Food Plentiful At Breeding Grounds

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    In this July 1, 2013, photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin looks around after emerging from its burrow on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Forty years ago biologists launched a re colonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the island. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast.  Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress walks through tall vegetation on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to recolonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin walks next to a decoy of an razor billed auk on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Decoys help attract nesting birds to the island. Puffin decoys were used in Puffin Project, a successful re colonization effort started 40 years ago. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 3, 2013, photo, Dr. Steve Kress talks on Eastern Egg Rock, a 7-acre island where he led the successful effort to re colonize puffins off the Maine coast. Forty years ago Kress and his team of researchers began transplanting puffin chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on the remote island in Muscongus Bay. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo,  a puffin prepares to land on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. The number marks a burrow. Puffins nest beneath the rocks preferring remote islands that have no predators such as minks. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013, photo, field biologists row to shore from a moored boat at Eastern Egg Rock, a small island five miles off the Maine coast. Bird blinds used for monitoring puffins stand above the water line at right. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • In this July 1, 2013,  photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring. This summer the young are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society's seabird restoration program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Portland, Maine — The cute and comical seabirds called puffins have returned to several Maine islands and are finding plenty of food for their young chicks unlike last summer when many starved.

Young puffins died at an alarming rate last season because of a shortage of herring, leaving adults to try to feed them another type of fish that was too big to swallow. Some chicks died surrounded by piles of uneaten fish.

This summer, the chicks are getting plenty of hake and herring, said Steve Kress, director of the National Audubon Society’s seabird restoration program.

But researchers remain concerned.

Occupancy of puffin burrows on Matinicus Rock and at Seal Island, the two largest U.S. puffin colonies, are down by at least a third this season, Kress said. That likely means many birds died over the winter and others were too weak to produce offspring this season, he said.

With colorful beaks, puffins look like a cross between a penguin and a parrot. They spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to breed each spring, drawing camera-toting tourists by the boatload before the birds depart late in the summer.

The puffins were nearly wiped out a century ago.

So 40 years ago, Kress and his team of researchers launched a recolonization effort called the Puffin Project by transplanting chicks from Newfoundland to man-made burrows on remote Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus Bay.