Atlantic Puffins and Dovekies

DAZ|Studio Animals posted on Mar 16, 2022
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Here's a preview of my updated Puffins set in Iray. The puffins with the nearly black faces have the non-breeding plumage which is new and included in the update. The update will be released in early April. The Atlantic Puffin inhabits the coasts of northern Europe southward to northern France, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and eastern North America south to Maine. It winters south to Morocco (Africa) and New York (North America). They eat primarily small to mid-sized schooling fish. Birds often gather offshore at the edges of banks where water-mass boundaries or fronts and flow gradients concentrate fish prey. Several fish caught during dives, either swallowed (especially if small) or held in the bill, clamped against roof of mouth with tongue while additional prey caught. Feeding birds dive into fish schools, rather than circling them, and dive independently to feed, without synchronization between individuals. The puffins are distinct in their ability to hold several (sometimes over a dozen) small fish at a time, crosswise in their bill, rather than regurgitating swallowed fish. This allows them to take longer foraging trips, since they can come back with more food energy for their chick than a bird that can only carry one fish at a time. Atlantic Puffins population are teetering on being "endangered". Disturbances to their nesting areas cause the Puffins to abandon their nests. The collapse of fish stocks (especially of prey species such as herring) near breeding colonies mandate long distances to feeding areas with low density of prey, which causes poor growth and survival of chicks. Currently, this species is the focus of increased ecotourism from Newfoundland to Maine. Machias Seal Island (Gulf of Maine) is only North American puffin colony where ecotourists regularly permitted to land. Observation blinds and boardwalks permit approximately 2,000 visitors per year to observe puffins at close range in this thriving colony. About 4,300 ecotourists visit East Egg Rock in Maine, each year and view puffins from the water. Puffins showed more restless behaviors when tour boats are present, although no measurable effects on reproductive success has been noted and the colony continues to increase. Tour-boat traffic near breeding islands resulted in Atlantic Puffins flying off the water and landing on breeding slopes. The Dovekie (the smaller bird in the image) breeds along high arctic coasts (Iceland and Greenland) and only makes its way southward in winter as far as New England. Also a rare visitor on the coasts of the British Islands and it has been reported as common as far to the northward as Spitzbergen. Their winter distribution corresponds with regions of greatest abundance of oceanic zooplankton. The global population has been halved in the last 12 years. Dovekies sometimes show up out of range along the east coast of North America in massive “wrecks” of stranded, starving birds. Sustained, strong easterly winds may make feeding conditions unsuitable and push the weakened, emaciated birds landward. The largest recorded “wreck” in North America was in the winter of 1932 -1933, and saw Dovekies raining down on the streets of New York City and large numbers washing up along the entire eastern seaboard, from Nova Scotia to Florida. The Dovekie has been given many colorful names by different cultures. Norwegians refer to it as Alkekonge or King Auk. Newfoundlanders call it Bull Bird (owing to its chunky, neckless appearance). One small Newfoundland community just south of St. Johns, called Bay Bulls, is apparently named after this small, hearty auk.

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Comments (7)


mininessie 12:49PM | Wed, 16 March 2022 them!


STEVIEUKWONDER 1:33PM | Wed, 16 March 2022

Great perspective. This really does make you appreciate wildlife. Nice one Ken!


Flint_Hawk 2:09PM | Wed, 16 March 2022

I love how your scenes look so natural! Perfect!


3DClassics123456 4:29AM | Thu, 17 March 2022

Ken, hat off!


paul_gormley 1:35AM | Sun, 20 March 2022

very well done


Richardphotos 9:37AM | Mon, 28 March 2022

the pose in the foreground is exceptional and they are beautiful

Ken _Gilliland 9:54AM | Mon, 28 March 2022

Thanks... my birds at home are forever preening, grooming and occasionally scratching, so it made to include that behavior here. And yes, that head scratching pose has been improved and is included in the updated set.


screencraft 3:50PM | Fri, 22 April 2022

Lovely birds! The ones in the north of Britain have quite vividly coloured beaks; there are islands reserved purely for puffins, no tourists allowed. In fact the Reserve has one man living in a cottage who keeps watch over the population. You have to be very keen on your own company, and if I remember right they only do a year at a time!

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