Illustration of a tufted puffin.

The Tufted Puffin is an iconic seabird of Haystack Rock and the west coast from California to Alaska. Tufted Puffins populations have decreased dramatically at Haystack Rock and around the world.

They are in noticeable decline, or have disappeared entirely, from some colonies in British Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington, and Japan.  All over the world puffin populations are in trouble and researchers are working to understand reasons for the decline and what actions could prevent further loss.
We are spreading the word about the plight of puffins through supporting education, awareness, and outreach efforts in collaboration with partners.

Further research is needed to help save this amazing seabird, along with creatures and the environment throughout its food web and habitat.



Haystack Rock is home to one of the largest Tufted Puffin breeding colonies in Oregon.  

In early April puffins arrive at Haystack Rock.  Most already have a lifelong partner and are returning to the same protected burrow they used last year to raise their young. Tufted Puffins spend about 16 weeks at the rock. For the first couple weeks the puffins stake out their territory and clean up their burrow.  

Once their burrow is ready, the female puffin lays a single, chicken-sized egg, and both sexes take turns incubating it. Incubation lasts between about 43 days. Though usually tucked inside the burrow, newly hatched puffins make appearances at the ‘Rock’ beginning in late June through mid to late August.  

You may not be able to see the pufflings because activity around the rock is hectic and plentiful. But it’s fun to watch parent puffins making multiple trips to their burrow with bills full of fish for their growing puffling.

Pufflings leave their burrows 38 to 59 days after hatching. Under the protection of dark (to escape the ever-watchful, hungry eyes of bald eagles), all the pufflings will leave the safety of the rock and return to the open ocean, where they will spend the winter with no parental care.


Your generous donation or purchase of high-quality sweatshirts, stuffed animals, totes, and other merchandise goes to maintaining funding levels for critical research and partnership projects.



• Educating thousands of residents and visitors through informational booths, conservation lectures, and literature.

• Supporting research at Haystack Rock including Tufted Puffin monitoring and research to assess the availability of food for seabirds.

• Helping thousands of people see Tufted Puffins for the very first time, and educating  them on the plight of this species and others.

• Funding a west coast Tufted Puffin conservation coordinator in partnership with National Audubon Society. Partnered with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on seabird monitoring.

DIET & Range

Their diet is wide and varied and includes squid, anchovy, herring, smelt and other forage fish. Puffins dive and "fly" underwater to catch their prey. They regularly dive to depths of 200 feet, and with their barbed bills they can carry 5-20 fish at a time.

Breeding colonies are located along the West coast of the U.S. and Canada. Puffins nest on coastal islands where they prefer grassy slopes to dig their deep burrows for nesting.


Tufted Puffins mate in early spring and eggs are laid soon thereafter. Lifelong pairs produce one egg each year which takes about 43 days to hatch. A puffling chick is fed by both parents until early to late August.  At that time the adults leave the chick and return to sea. Fledglings are on their own and instinctually learn to fend for themselves.  They too go out to sea at this time and don’t return to land until they reach sexual mature in 3-5 years. Once mature, they find a colony, a life-long mate, breed, and dig their own burrow to lay an egg.

Puffins live for an average of 20+ years. The oldest recorded Tufted Puffin was over 30 years old!