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Newfoundland Puffin Patrol Rescues More Birds Than Ever

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PUFFINS
The Puffin Patrol in Witless Bay, Nfld. rescues chicks who wander onto roads. (Alamy) | Alamy
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The Puffin Patrol in Witless Bay, Newfoundland collected 37 disoriented puffin chicks, a record number, on Friday night, and released them into the wild on Saturday morning.

Jeurgen Schau started the patrol six years because sometimes foggy nights confuse puffins and they end up following the lights into town. He said they use the moon as a guide.

"So they fly directly out of the burrow to the road and the street and sometimes they stand on the road and say, 'oh look two moons,' and they they get hit by a car," he said.

He said with the warm weather more birds are hatching and wandering into town.

Schau and his wife look for puffins in the evenings. They keep them in their garage overnight and release them the next morning.

On the beach Saturday the puffins were tagged and weighed by Canadian Wildlife Services.

To free the birds, rescuers hold the puffins tight in their hands, and stand over the edge of the water, before releasing them upwards into the air.

Cute and cool

"I like it a lot and it's pretty cool that you save puffins," said nine year-old Kenzie Tobin who was there helping release birds.

"They're cute, and cool, and you get to name them." Tobin has been setting puffins free four years in a row. He said he's saved five puffins already this summer.

"It makes me very happy, I'm very proud of myself," said Timothy Dutoit who was also on the beach.

"It makes me so proud because it started as a small private thing," said Schau "[It was just] myself and four children from my neighbourhood and now, it is a well established organization."

The puffin patrol is on duty until the end of August.

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