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South Oregon Coast's Bandon Holds Special Puffin Viewing Day

Published 05/22/22 at 4:25 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

South Oregon Coast's Bandon Holds Special Puffin Viewing Day

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(Bandon, Oregon) – Get ready to see a new face on Bandon's Face Rock: the faces of adorable tufted puffins. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

The south Oregon coast's Shoreline Education for Awareness, Inc. (SEA) is hosting the annual Puffin Party celebration at Bandon's Face Rock Wayside on May 28, going from 10 a.m. to noon. There, you'll get to encounter volunteers who will help you spot puffins on the distant landmark, using spotting scopes that will be zoomed in on the puffins' burrows. The idea is you should be able to see them building nests and displaying their mating colors.

It will be a non-stop adorable fest, checking out what SEA called the “ feathery flapping footballs.”

Along the way you'll also get the chance to see other seabirds, such as the common murre, cormorants, black oyster catchers, surf scoters and maybe even the coveted peregrine falcon.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said the tufted puffins show up every year about this time, although most famously it happens at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. But there are more spots than just up on the north Oregon coast.

“From May to August, tufted puffins nest on islands at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach and Face Rock in Bandon. Remember to bring binoculars or a spotting scope to see them,” ODFW said. “A great time to check out the coast for offshore pelagic seabirds is after a large storm.”

With this event, you don't have to bring your telescopic gear.

They've been known to linger at Simspon Reef near Coos Bay, where they're a little closer than most areas down south.

ODFW said they can also be found at Coquille Point, although not every year.

Bandon's Face Rock, courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts

Cannon Beach, of course, makes viewing them over the summer practically a daily opportunity through the Haystack Rock Awareness Program.

ODFW said tufted puffins on the Oregon coast breed on soil-topped islands like these, as well as on cliffsides. They dig burrows six feet long into the soil. Each burrow contains a nest that is lined with grass and feathers, hosting one egg per pair of puffins.

When they carry the food for their young, a puffin does what is called “bill-loading,” which means they store from 5 to 20 fish crosswise in their bills.

They are pelaegic, meaning they spend most of the year at sea, returning to the same burrow each year to breed.

For more information on the Bandon event, call Mary Garrett at 541-261-1076.

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Above courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts

Photos below Ram Pampish

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