Puffin love is enduring and everlasting.
Puffin couple stay together for life. They start having puffin babies (breeding) when they are about five years old. There is no definitive lifespan for the puffin. Some still breed at 10 years old and some have been known to live almost 40 years. So, these couples really are in it for a lifetime.
Puffins share. They share food. They take turns digging and protecting their burrows and they even share the duties of caring for their children. Both the male and the female help to incubate the eggs by taking turns holding them tight under their wing, where there are small patches of bare-skin with lots of blood supply. Once the baby pufflings are born the parents also share the work in feeding them. One keeps it warm and protects and the other collects its food. They do everything together.
When puffins fly out to sea, if they cannot find their mate, they will meet back at the burrow and fly back to sea together to breed. To show affection they often rub their beaks together, commonly known as “billing”. They also have been heard cooing at one another. How cute is that?
Puffins are romantic birds, aren’t they?
Angel, Heather. Puffins. New York: Evans Mitchell Books, 2007.