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Puffin recuperating at East Winch RSPCA hospital

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A puffin, grounded on a beach in Northumberland, has been given some specialist attention after being rescued by the RSPCA and brought to its hospital in East Winch.

The distinctive bird was found close to the tideline near Bamburgh Castle on Sunday. He was in need of some TLC as there were concerns he had been contaminated by oil.

RSPCA Inspector Lucy Green picked up the stricken bird from the beach in Northumberland and he has since been transported to the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre.

Puffin recuperating at East Winch RSPCA hospital (55955010)
Puffin recuperating at East Winch RSPCA hospital (55955010)

But before he arrived at the centre the puffin was examined and cared for by Yorkshire-based wildlife rehabilitator Jean Thorpe. Lucy arranged a rendezvous point with North and East Yorkshire Inspector Tom Hutton, so he could take the seabird to Rydale Wildlife Rehabilitation.

He stayed with Jean for a couple of days before making the next stage of his 270-mile journey to East Winch, from where he will be released back into the wild when he is fit and ready.

Lucy said: “He was just sat there on the beach when I found him. He’s had a thorough examination at the wildlife vets and while he was a good weight his plumage was showing signs of possible oil contamination.

Bamburgh puffin. Picture: RSPCA (55955035)
Bamburgh puffin. Picture: RSPCA (55955035)

“Now he’ll get the specialist rehabilitation he needs at East Winch and they will check that he is waterproof before he can safely go back out.

“He’s the second puffin we have seen this week. Normally in this area it is guillemots we rescue so it is quite unusual.”

The bird was aged as an older adult by the wildlife rehabilitator after a closer examination showed he had three grooves in his beak (see right).

Bamburgh Castle (55955024)
Bamburgh Castle (55955024)

He may have been grounded at Bamburgh (below) after flying from the Farne Islands, a renowned breeding colony for puffins, lying around four miles off the Northumberland coastline.

Half the UK population of puffins are congregated at only a few breedings sites, such as Farne and South Stack on Anglesey.

But with their brightly coloured bills and red and black eye markings they remain many people’s choice of a favourite UK bird.

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