National

Nothing funny about bad year for Maine’s clownish puffins

FILE - In this July 1, 2013, file photo, a puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock off the Maine coast. This year's warm summer was bad for Maine's beloved puffins. Far fewer chicks fledged than need to to stabilize the population. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s beloved puffins suffered one of their worst years for reproduction in decades this summer due to a lack of the small fish they eat.

Puffins are seabirds with colorful beaks that nest on four small islands off the coast of Maine.

There are about 1,500 breeding pairs in the state and they’re dependent on fish such as herring and sand lance to be able to feed their young.

Don Lyons of the National Audubon Society’s Seabird Institute in Bremen, Maine, says only about a quarter of the birds were able to raise chicks this summer.

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