An Atlantic puffin on Maine's on Eastern Egg Rock appears to imitate a decoy on July 9 by standing on one leg. Decoys were used to lure the gregarious birds ashore after they were re-introduced to the island following a 100-year absence. Photo by Robert F. Bukaty / AP

An Atlantic puffin on Maine's on Eastern Egg Rock appears to imitate a decoy on July 9 by standing on one leg. Decoys were used to lure the gregarious birds ashore after they were re-introduced to the island following a 100-year absence. Photo by Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Hunted to extinction in state, they’re thriving thanks to human help Puffins, which resemble half-pint penguins except that they can fly, were heavily hunted along the Maine coast for their meat and feathers, and by 1901 only one pair remained, researchers said. Puffins are often confused with penguins. They have similar colors, and both swim under water using their wings as fins, but they are not related and live at opposite polar ends of the world.

In 1973, with backing from the National Audubon Society and help from the Canadian Wildlife Service, Kress began transplanting 2-week-old puffin chicks from Great Island off Newfoundland, 1,000 miles to the northeast.

These days there are 90 nesting pairs on Eastern Egg, among more than 700 nesting pairs on four Maine islands, Kress said.

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