Time - and puffins - fly on the Isle of May

A puffin chick on the Isle of May.
A puffin chick on the Isle of May.

If you want to see the annual spectacle that is the puffin colony on the Isle of May, you better get your skates on.

Since the start of this month, puffin chicks have been departing the island in steady numbers each night.

For the parent birds, finding their burrows empty for another season means just one thing - time to leave.

Puffins depart the east coast seabird colonies, including the Isle of May, in late July-early August, with just a few stragglers staying until mid-August.

With the chick-rearing job done they have no reason to remain on land and they head out to the open sea where they will remain until next March.

“It’s hard to believe these little hardy birds will spend the next eight months just sitting out on the sea regardless of weather,” said Scottish Natural Heritage reserve manager David Steel.

“However, spare a thought for the chicks - once they depart the island they’ll spend the next three years at sea before returning.”