If you visit the Bandon Dunes along Oregon’s rocky coastline you will see the puffin adorning signs and entrances because puffins once crowded these shore cliffs. For awhile the tufted puffin population suffered and the birds were not as plentiful but as of late the vast numbers of Puffins on the Bandon Dunes have been growing again. This is a good story amongst the many sad ones about puffin populations disappearing, dwindling coast-after-coast.
There are reports of the Tufted Puffin coming in early spring and summer to Coquille Point which stretches the coastline between Sixth Street SW and 11th Street SW in Bandon, Oregon. It is one of the more accessible places to observe wildlife according to Jan Lee. You can part at the west end of 11th Street SW and there you will find a stairway to the beach. Bring binoculars and your camera!
But the puffin fun in Oregon doesn’t stop in Bandon. According to the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Oregon puffins can be found in various places along the Oregon coast. This is the paragraph their site had on Tufted Puffins:
Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) – The Tufted Puffin is found along the Pacific coast from Alaska to southern California. They nest along the entire Oregon coast on coastal rocks where soil topped islands exist. Two thirds of the birds in Oregon nest at Three Arch Rocks NWR. Tufted Puffins have the most extensive latitudinal distribution of all the alcids ranging from Japan, through the Aleutian Islands south to Oregon, and southern California. They are colonial nesters although they will nest singly. Tufted Puffins need enough of a slope to give them enough lift to take off into the air from the rock or nest site location. Although they are not the most graceful birds in the air they make up for it under the water where they can truly fly. Their nests are burrows in the soil that can be up to six feet long. The nest itself is at the end of the burrow, usually lined with dry grasses and feathers. In April, laying begins with a clutch of a single egg. Incubation is 44 days by both sexes. Young will fledge at forty-nine days but can leave the burrow before that time. Anchovies, smelt, sand lance, and herring make up most of their diet. The young are fed small fish that are carried in the adults beaks three or four at a time. The Tufted Puffin molts the top layer its colorful beak every summer after chicks have fledged marking the end of the breeding season. Tufted Puffins winter at sea and are rarely seen from land during that time. The Tufted Puffin’s longevity record is six years. A good location for viewing these birds is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach.