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Striking Tufted Puffins Returning to Oregon Coast; Cannon Beach Event Welcomes Them

Published 04/11/23 at 02:42 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Striking Tufted Puffins Returning to Oregon Coast; Cannon Beach Event Welcomes Them

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Soon the cute lil' ones will be in various places along the coastline. (Photo Seaside Aquarium)

Right about now, every April, the elegant and colorful tufted puffin makes its return to the Oregon coast, showing up at a few places along these 362 miles of shoreline. Bandon, the giant offshore rocks at Oceanside, and near Coos Bay are the hosts to the inimitable bird's presences, as they set up nests to give birth and raise their hatchlings, taking off about August.

In fact, there's a small bulletin from Cannon Beach they have been seen already, but not much in the way of fanfare.

At Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, they take up their most their most visible presence – the one nesting spot on the Oregon coast that's closest to the general public.

Every year, Cannon Beach hosts a special celebration of their most beautiful of summer visitors, with the welcome back puffins event this year coming up on April 22 and 23. Both days are part of the continuing Earth Day celebrations in town that go through late April.

Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) puts on the two-day happening, running from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Both days are free and they're about all things tufted puffin. You'll find interpretive stations, help with spotting scopes so you can get a close look at them, art stations and presentations that are held live and streaming.

“This event takes place rain or shine, so please dress accordingly,” HRAP said.

The schedule includes:

Saturday, April 22

From 8: am to 11 am, Haystack Rock itself is host to interpretive stations, the bird scope station, and an art table.

At 9:30 am: How to Spot a Puffin (Facebook/Instagram Live).

10 am brings the Puffin Predator Game (Facebook/Instagram Live).

Finally at 10:30 am, there's Puffin Trivia (Facebook/Instagram Live).

Sunday, April 23, the schedule is just about the same.

8:00 am – 11:00 am: Interpretive Stations, Bird Scope Station, and Art Table
9:30 am: How to Spot a Puffin (Facebook/Instagram Live)
10:00 am: Puffin Predator Game (Facebook/Instagram Live)
10:30 am: Puffin Trivia (Facebook/Instagram Live)

There has been a brief statement from HRAP that puffins have been spotted, with no other information, so it's possible you'll start to see them farther south.

Coos Bay's Simpson's Reef down on the southern Oregon coast is the most visible spot there, but Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) reports they can also be spotted at times at Coquille Point, but more prominently in one truly famous spot at Bandon.

Photo Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

“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.”

In Oceanside, in Tillamook County, they can be seen on Three Arch Rocks, but you'll really need zoom optics to catch sight of them.

However, even at famed Haystack Rock you'll need optics to see them, and that's what HRAP is there doing. See their schedule at the rock

For the event, see that website or 503-436-8079 or email for more information.

The sad thing about tufted puffins in this state is that their population is quickly declining. According to national experts, the Oregon coast has historically had about 5,000 in past decades, but since the '90s their numbers have dropped to a few hundred. MORE PUFFIN PHOTOS BELOW

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Photo Seaside Aquarium

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

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