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Bid Farewell to Puffins Event at Cannon Beach, Aug. 22 | N. Oregon Coast

Published 08/10/21 at 6:19 PM PDT
By Andre' GW Hagestedt

Bid Farewell to Puffins Event at Cannon Beach, Aug. 22 | N. Oregon Coast

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Your chances to see the puffins atop one Oregon coast landmark are quickly coming to an end. (Photo courtesy Friends of Haystack Rock)

With this in mind, the Friends of Haystack Rock will be offering one last blast for puffin fans with a guided puffin watch event on August 22, out in front of Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock. It happens 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

There, volunteers with the organization will be out on the beach with birding scopes to share.

Tiffany Boothe, one of the heads of Friends of Haystack Rock, said right about the end of August or so they begin leaving the iconic north Oregon coast rock after having hatched and raised their young there since spring.

“The puffins typically leave Haystack Rock the last week of August through the first week of September,” Boothe said. “To avoid predators they leave their burrows at night. So one day you'll see them up on the Rock and then the next day they are all gone.”

Boothe said you're starting to see clear signs their parenting time is coming to an end.

“They have been very active lately, as they prepare their chick to fledge,” she said. “You can see the puffins as they fly in and out of their burrows with food for their growing chick.”

So, the event is basically bidding farewell to the favorite north Oregon coast bird, at a spot that is the largest tufted puffin breeding locale in the state.

“In early April puffins show up at Haystack Rock,” Boothe said. “Most of the puffins have already found their lifelong partners and are returning to the same protected burrow they used last year to raise their young.”

For the first two weeks, the happy couple stakes out their territory on top and clean out their burrow. Once that is done, the female puffin will lay one egg that is about the size of a chicken egg, and both male and female puffin incubate the egg. This usually lasts about 41 – 54 days, with the family spending a total of 16 weeks or so at the rock.

“Though usually tucked back inside the burrow, newly hatched puffins appear at the ‘Rock' beginning in late June through mid to late August,” Boothe said. “Despite the fact that you may not be able to see the pufflings, activity around the rock is hectic and plentiful: it is fun to observe the parent puffins making multiple trips to their burrow with bills full of fish for their young.”

Pufflings leave their burrows some 38 to 59 days after hatching, Boothe said. When each leaves, they head back out to the open ocean for the winter.

Boothe said bald eagles are one of the biggest predators, which is primarily who they're avoiding by heading out at night.

The tufted puffin is a major icon of this iconic north Oregon coast rock, yet in recent decades their numbers are decreasing in Oregon, including Haystack Rock, as well as California, Washington, Japan, and the Gulf of Alaska. They've even completely disappeared from some of those colonies, including one that was well known at Heceta Head.

It's something Boothe and the Friends of Haystack Rock have taken on as an issue.

“All over the world puffin populations are in trouble,” Boothe said. “We are trying to help spread the word and educate people about their population problems and what we can do to help. Education and research is needed to save this amazing bird.”

Also see Tufted Puffins Return to Oregon Coast - Cannon Beach, Bandon, Coos Bay

Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals.  About 60 vacation homes to choose from: ocean view, oceanfront and very close to the beach, all in Cannon Beach or in Arch Cape. All are either oceanfront or very close. Homes sleep as many as 12. 164 Sunset. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 503-436-0940. 866-436-0940. www.visitcb.com 

Beachcomber Vacation Homes.  Numerous vacation rentals in the Cannon Beach area, including Falcon Cove and Arch Cape. Depending on the home, you may find amenities and luxuries such as a barbecue, claw foot tub, a ship's ladder. 115 Sunset Blvd. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 855-219-4758. 503-436-4500. Website.


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees nearly 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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