Unusual visitor: Injured puffin being treated on the Outer Banks

A puffin found in the woods near Buxton was doing well Monday. [Photo courtesy Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation]

Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation has an unusual patient in its care — a puffin found in the woods in Buxton this weekend.

The small seabird usually associated with more northern locales was found back on Rocky Rollinson Road over the weekend. Atlantic puffins are an unusual site around the Outer Banks, especially onshore. They generally stay out to sea, and the Virginia-North Carolina border marks the very southernmost point of their winter range, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Area where Atlantic puffin was found over the weekend in Buxton.

Since the puffin found in Buxton wasn’t on the beach, “that tells me he didn’t float to shore and try to walk around,” said rehabilitator Lou Browning. The bird “has slight head wound … probably flying and got hit by a peregrine [falcon] and went down in the woods.”

The little puffin was doing well on Monday, eating aggressively and appeared to be on the road to release.

“I’m hoping to get him up and fat,” Browning said. “Hopefully he’s going to be releasable. He’s got a good chance.”

An adult Atlantic puffing [Audubon Field Guide photo]

About Kari Pugh 1073 Articles
Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com