The day the Puffins Arrive! 500,000 pairs of them

Sometimes we are fortunate to be at the right place at the right time.  This past Sunday my family, along with around 90 other lucky souls, experienced an amazing phenomenon.  Each year, on April 14th, 500,000 pairs of puffins-lunderfugl, return to Gjesværstappan to lay their eggs.  That boggles my mind… twentyfour hours prior, a million birds were on their way to a remote spot in the North Cape of Norway!


Gjesvæarstappan is a group of  islands and a nature reserve for millions of arctic seabirds that lay their eggs in the steep rocky cliffs.  Bird safaris are offered from May to August.


Our boat was called the Lundekongen or Puffen King, and as you can see, we could not have asked for better weather.  Perfect for a landlubber like myself.


The Children’s Trekking Association, part of the Norwegian Trekking Association, organized the outing and before we set sail, we had a visit from a special puffin that shared some facts about these beautiful birds.



We learned that each pair lays just one egg which is placed in a hole up to a meter long.  Their sharp beaks are used to dig the deep holes.  They can dive up to 40 meters to catch fish in the ocean waters and a puffin can live to be 30 years old.  Their nickname is the sea parrot, because of their colorful beaks.

And then we were off to greet the puffins on their arrival day.



And they were there to be greeted!



They filled the waters and the sky.






Next year I will be bringing a better camera lens to get some close ups.  This one will have to do for now.



23 thoughts on “The day the Puffins Arrive! 500,000 pairs of them

  1. They’re certainly curious little birds and apparently a bit of an acquired taste. Were they ever eaten up there? They certainly were in the Hebrides of Scotland. 🙂

    1. I actually don’t know if people have eaten them here.. maybe at one time. Can’t say that I’d be tempted 🙂 But now the islands are a bird sanctuary. I take it you have tasted them either?

      1. No never, but on some of the more Remote Sottish islands in the past they were a useful addition to the diet. Don’t fancy it either really 🙂

      2. Heavy rain and quite windy the last two days. Gey dreich as we say in Scotland! 😀

  2. It’s amazing that the puffins come back always on the same date. Our guide we had in winter as we drove to the Nordkapp told us about, too. This must be an amazing experience. I really would like to see that scenery once! Ha en kjempefin dag! 🙂

    1. It was amazing. I can’t stop thinking about it. My parents went on the safari at the end of the season, last summer. Then there were over 70 eagles sitting on one of the cliffs. I’m hoping to make a trip out this summer, when more bird species have arrived. Hope you get a chance to visit again. Maybe after Iceland 🙂

  3. That is really cool, Erica! What an amazing thing to experience. Your images are beautiful, they really give a sense of the enormous number of puffins returning. Wow!

    1. It was an incredible experience, Karen. I hope to be there again next year with a telephoto lens, although I can’t imagine the fantastic weather will repeat itself 🙂

  4. Beautiful pictures! What a blessing to get to see the puffins! Wish we could have been there.

    Love, Mom

    1. It was an amazing day. We thought of you as we took the trip – not as many eagles as there were when you took the bird safari – but the ones that were there were ready and waiting for a tasty puffin treat 🙂

  5. This is an incredible sight. Puffins were eaten in Iceland so I suppose they must have been eaten in Norway at one time. This really is something special. Thanks so much for sharing such a special moment with us. And I love the photos you took!

  6. Wonderful! Who knew that they had clocks and calendars? :>) I have enjoyed the puffins that I watched on a similar “rock” in the bay at Homer, Alaska. I love the way they waddle in their little tuxedos. Thanks for sharing.

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