A passion for puffins

Meet the puffins of Skomer Island, which have been photographed by the award-winning young wildlife photographer, Becky Bunce.

During the winter, adult puffins shed their vibrant bills, meaning the vibrant orange bill is only seen in the summer months in order to attract a mate during the breeding season. © Becky Bunce.

Skomer Island is a nature reserve off the coast of Wales, Pembrokeshire and is renowned for its large Atlantic puffin and Manx shearwater colonies.

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Weighing in at an average of only 500 grams, puffins are quick and agile seabirds. However, they are more suited to diving than flying as they have to beat their wings up to 400 times a minute to stay in flight, but once airborne they can reach speeds of up to 55mph.

Puffins migrate to cliffs in the spring and summer months to breed in underground burrows. They position themselves close to the sea so that they can make regular fishing trips to feed their offspring.

About the photographer

Becky Bunce is an award-winning wildlife photographer based in Berkshire, who, at the age of 19, has over 7 years’ experience photographing wildlife. She is a self-taught photographer with a strong passion for wildlife and conservation.

She has a particular interest and knowledge in birds, but has a particular affinity for puffins, red kites, kestrels and more. Becky’s greatest achievement to date is winning the Young Photographer category in the British Wildlife Photography Award 2016 for her picture ‘Kung Fu Puffin’, which is featured above.

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To view the images as a slideshow, click on the arrows in the top right hand corner of the photos below.

In this tender moment, the puffin on the right introduces itself to the other, holding itself in a submissive stance. Soon after, the pair were billing, a routine of puffin courtship. © Becky Bunce.
In this tender moment, the puffin on the right introduces itself to the other, holding itself in a submissive stance. Soon after, the pair were billing, a routine of puffin courtship. © Becky Bunce.
Within the colourful habitat on Skomer a puffin emerges from its burrow, breaking up the pattern of the daisies. With so many flowers, it can be hard to spot the sheer number of burrows. © Becky Bunce.
Within the colourful habitat on Skomer a puffin emerges from its burrow, breaking up the pattern of the daisies. With so many flowers, it can be hard to spot the sheer number of burrows. © Becky Bunce.
A curious and bubbly puffin goes on a small adventure around its burrow and ends up waddling through this archway. Bobbing its head, it makes a soft call akin to a purr. © Becky Bunce.
A curious and bubbly puffin goes on a small adventure around its burrow and ends up waddling through this archway. Bobbing its head, it makes a soft call akin to a purr. © Becky Bunce.
With an average height of 18cm and weight of 500 grams, puffins are rapid birds in flight. As they come in to land, they push their feet forwards to help slow down in time. © Becky Bunce.
With an average height of 18cm and weight of 500 grams, puffins are rapid birds in flight. As they come in to land, they push their feet forwards to help slow down in time. © Becky Bunce.
Due to the large colonies on Skomer, territories can become crowded, meaning you often see puffins tolerate each other at a close proximity as pictured here. © Becky Bunce
Due to the large colonies on Skomer, territories can become crowded, meaning you often see puffins tolerate each other at a close proximity as pictured here. © Becky Bunce.
This kung fu puffin concludes a territorial fight with an impressive kick. Before this moment, the pair had been pecking at each other and puffing up their chests in a bid for dominance. © Becky Bunce.
This kung fu puffin concludes a territorial fight with an impressive kick. Before this moment, the pair had been pecking at each other and puffing up their chests in a bid for dominance.
© Becky Bunce.
Puffins work long hours while they have chicks to bring them as much food as possible. This puffin hunting at sunset is not abnormal; the birds take full advantage of the daylight hours. © Becky Bunce.
Puffins work long hours while they have chicks to bring them as much food as possible. This puffin hunting at sunset is not abnormal; the birds take full advantage of the daylight hours.
© Becky Bunce.
A puffin flies to the cliff edge with a beak full of eels at sunset. Once landed, it must go back to its burrow without dropping or losing the fish to other puffins or gulls. © Becky Bunce.
A puffin flies to the cliff edge with a beak full of eels at sunset. Once landed, it must go back to its burrow without dropping or losing the fish to other puffins or gulls. © Becky Bunce.
During the winter, adult puffins shed their vibrant bills, meaning the vibrant orange bill is only seen in the summer months in order to attract a mate during the breeding season. © Becky Bunce.
During the winter, adult puffins shed their vibrant bills, meaning the vibrant orange bill is only seen in the summer months in order to attract a mate during the breeding season. © Becky Bunce.
Due to small wings and bulky bodies, puffins beat their wings up to 400 beats per minute just to stay in flight. As this puffin comes to land, it flaps rapidly to avoid crash-landing. © Becky Bunce
Due to small wings and bulky bodies, puffins beat their wings up to 400 beats per minute just to stay in flight. As this puffin comes to land, it flaps rapidly to avoid crash-landing. © Becky Bunce.
A pair of puffins build a closer bond through billing, a courtship routine involving the quick tapping of their beaks. © Becky Bunce.
A pair of puffins build a closer bond through billing, a courtship routine involving the quick tapping of their beaks. © Becky Bunce.
During a golden sunset this bird makes its way back home after a busy day’s work. The vivid light filters through the wingtips and webbed feet, causing an almost angelic effect. © Becky Bunce.
During a golden sunset this bird makes its way back home after a busy day’s work. The vivid light filters through the wingtips and webbed feet, causing an almost angelic effect.
© Becky Bunce.
From the edge of the cliff a puffin calls out to others, attracting the attention of a few. © Becky Bunce.
From the edge of the cliff a puffin calls out to others, attracting the attention of a few. © Becky Bunce.
Like any animal, puffins can exhibit violent and aggressive behaviours when fighting for territory or dominance. In this fight, both puffins locked bills and twisted its opponent viciously. © Becky Bunce.
Like any animal, puffins can exhibit violent and aggressive behaviours when fighting for territory or dominance. In this fight, both puffins locked bills and twisted its opponent viciously. © Becky Bunce.
When this puffin chick emerged, it was attended by the parent bird to ensure its safety. The chick was very vocal during this time and the parent preened it then coaxed it back underground. © Becky Bunce.
When this puffin chick emerged, it was attended by the parent bird to ensure its safety. The chick was very vocal during this time and the parent preened it then coaxed it back underground. © Becky Bunce.