NEWS

Biologist says N.L. water too cold for Montreal puffin

12/23/2011 06:08 EST | Updated 02/22/2012 05:12 EST

Tony Diamond doesn’t think the puffin recently found in downtown Montreal should have been sent to Newfoundland.

The UNB biologist says the bird was probably blown in from the Gulf of St. Lawrence during a storm.

“I’m very puzzled by it. I don’t know why they want to take it to Newfoundland. There are over 13 thousand pairs of Atlantic puffins that nest in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and there are several hundred pairs in the Magdalene Islands, and Anticosti and Bonaventure. It’s much more likely that this bird was blown inshore by a storm from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and I think it’s not going to do it any good to be flown to the waters off Newfoundland,” he said.

Diamond, who has been studying puffins in the Bay of Fundy for the last 18 years, worries that the puffin will have trouble adapting quickly to the colder waters off Newfoundland. He says this bird needs warmer water.

“I think it would be much better to release it in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is almost certainly where it came from and where the other puffins that fledged from its colony are most likely to be right now,” he said.

And as for why the bird ended up in the middle of a Montreal street, it likely wasn’t Christmas shopping that attracted him. Diamond says wet pavement, from a bird's eye view, glistens like calm water.

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