NEWS

Wayward puffin a step closer to Atlantic Ocean

12/23/2011 06:41 EST | Updated 02/22/2012 05:12 EST

An Atlantic puffin found on a Montreal street and returned by jet to Newfoundland is ready to move one step closer to its ocean home on Friday.

The young bird is scheduled to make the journey from St. John's to a bird rehabilitation centre in Ship Cove, Placentia Bay, southeastern Newfoundland.

Environmentalist Stan Tobin has looked after the puffin since it arrived in Newfoundland by plane from Quebec on Thursday.

The puffin — a species sometimes known in Newfoundland as the sea parrot because of its colourful beak — has had a quick dip in a bathtub and a meal of saltwater capelin, said Tobin.

"It loved them, just gobbled about half a dozen of them up,” said Tobin.

Puffin nameless, so far

To date, the bird, which will have a large multi-coloured beak when it matures, hasn't been named.

"So far it's Puffin, but seeing it's probably going to be the only bird in the wildlife response centre, it will probably get a name there,” said Tobin.

Tobin said he's hoping wildlife officials will inspect the bird over the holidays and confirm its gender.

The puffin, which some believe arrived in Montreal aboard a ship, was put in an animal carrier aboard a flight to St. John's that arrived late Thursday afternoon.

A Montreal woman found the puffin on a downtown Montreal street last week. Le Nichoir, a wildbird rehabilitation centre in Hudson, Que., just west of the island of Montreal, took it in.

Air Canada covered the estimated $150 shipping cost to fly the bird to St. John's. The puffin was placed on a hammock-like bed and loaded into an animal crate for the flight.

It’s expected to be back at sea in early January.

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