Huffin’ and Puffin (8 Things You Should Know About Auks)

I’ve been doing some important research this past week. Here are some things that everyone should know about puffins:

1. There are two types that live in the North Pacific Ocean: horned puffins and tufted puffins.
2. Puffins are auks. They are not penguins. Auks live north of the equator, and penguins live south of the equator. They are not related.
3. Puffins, like all auks, can both fly in the air and swim underwater (cool!)
4. Puffins are damned cute.
5. The ones at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon like to splash-land, showering the spectators in the aviary. They think it is great fun. They are right.
6. The puffins mentioned in #5 also enjoy swimming very close to people and doing crazy, frenetic dances in the water.
7. They like to be watched and photographed.
8. They love life.

9. (Bonus fact) I think I’d like to come back as an auk in my next life.

Dive and chase

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A mother’s Day treat today was watching two sea birds dart and soar through the sky in search of fish … and then fight over the catch.

Shooting fast-moving birds in flight is not an easy proposition, and it quickly makes obvious the limits of an automatic point-and-shoot camera. Pulling out to maximum zoom, it was all I could do to nab the birds in my view-finder, and then with a lightning reflex “click,” I hoped the shot would be focused enough to capture the instant. The photos are not very sharp. Still, I thought this not bad for a few moments of effort on an easy morning stroll.