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This Year’s Puffin Scare Story

December 9, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness


From the Telegraph:




Every year we get this silly story, generated by grant-funded, climate alarmist scientists, and every time the gullible reporters fail to check the actual facts.

Note, of course, that it is always “COULD” and “MAY”!

Atlantic puffins in Europe range from the far Arctic north down to Northern France.

In Britain, puffins are thriving off the Pembrokeshire coast, on Skomer and Skokholm Islands. On the former puffin numbers have shot up in the last decade.


And last year ITV reported that populations on both islands were the highest since the 1940s, when there was a steep decline:



This April, Wales Online reported that this year’s Skomer Island count had found 38896 puffins.


There is no evidence whatsoever that climate change has had any effect at all on puffins.

What we most certainly do know is industrial fishing, particularly in the North Sea, is affecting them:


New research led by the BTO shows that the UK’s internationally important seabird populations are being affected by fishing activities in the North Sea. Levels of seabird breeding failure were higher in years when a greater proportion of the North Sea’s sandeels, important prey for seabirds, was commercially fished.

But as sure as clockwork, the same dopey reporters will be publishing the same fake news next year.

  1. M Fraser permalink
    December 9, 2022 10:55 am

    A friend sailed to Fair isle in July and there were thousands of Puffins on the approach.

  2. December 9, 2022 10:57 am

    No-one knows.

    What we can guess however, is that whatever the effects of the dreaded ClimateEmergency™ scam, offshore whirligigs can only have a negative effect.

    • December 9, 2022 11:08 am

      Good point, and surely all the concrete poured for those emplacements is affecting marine life by changing the pH and screwing up their navigation, can anyone learned get a grant to study and publish on this?
      Start a campaign

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        December 9, 2022 2:07 pm

        I’d happily chip in if it meant some genuine research into the subject. Whether the EU “encouraged” Danish fisherman to hoover up every last sand eel (why would they need to; Danish fishermen not bright enough to think that up for themselves?) there is no doubt that the Farne colony has been hard hit but is recovering.
        My guess is that a lot of marine life is being impacted by offshore wind farms. Is there any reason to suppose that one reason why sea creatures that navigate by their own radar systems would NOT be vibrations from pylons? To be even-handed, is it also possible that oil operations could play a part. It would certainly be beneficial to know.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 9, 2022 11:56 am

    I didn’t notice the annual BBC warming seas sunfish story this year, someone’s for the highjump.

  4. mikewaite permalink
    December 9, 2022 11:59 am

    There are a large number of papers addressing the question of winter storminess in the North Atlantic over the past 1000 years , covering the MWP , th LIA and the current climate . Some of this work was prompted by finding explanations for the abandonment of the Norse settlements of western Greenland , dependent as they were on regular boats from Iceland or Norway. It is known that from ca 1200 the climate for pastoral farming worsened and supply boats failed because of an increase in storminess as the climate got colder from the 13th C into the LIA.
    A paper by a group of climate scientists , including the famous (or infamous) Wadhams , looking at the relationship between winter storminess and climate concludes: (from abstract) :

    ” Considered over the last ca. 2000 years, it would appear that winter storminess and climate-driven coastal erosion was at a minimum during the Medieval Warm Period. By contrast, the time interval from ca. AD 1420 until present has been associated with sustained winter storminess across the North Atlantic that has resulted in accelerated coastal erosion and sand drift.”
    And the no of gale days in the Oct-march period recorded around Iceland dropped from ca 200/yr in mid 19th C to ca 20/yr today.
    So current global warming may actually benefit seabirds subject to loss of feeding or breeding ares by storms .
    However , as the paper warns , there are differences in climate behaviour across the whole north Atlantic area , so one could see differences in effect on seabird population according to location . The Telegraph article does not seem to recognise this.

  5. Peter Yarnall permalink
    December 9, 2022 12:10 pm

    Just before the Brexit “agreement” was ratified, Danish fishermen were urged by the EU to extract as many sand eels as they could from the North Sea – part of the Danes’ diet apparently. As a result, Puffin numbers on the Farne islands dropped dramatically ……….only to show up in increased numbers on our west coast islands where sand eels are abundant
    You would think that the climate numpties would understand a little bit about nature!

    • Phoenix permalink
      December 9, 2022 1:14 pm

      It’s not about nature. It’s about a perpetual Progressive/Left/Green political dictatorship finally banning everything horrid and unfair whilst the evil white men get their comeuppance.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 9, 2022 3:24 pm

      In fact the Danes were burning the sand eels to produce electricity at one point.

      “There are power stations in Denmark which are being run on squashed sand eels.”

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        December 10, 2022 4:49 am

        The puffinocalypse is at hand …..I love the exquisite logic and skepticism of one perceptive commentator quoted in Pauls 2018 article who asked if puffin populations crashed in 1939 , grew steadily as the world experienced ” global warming ” then dipped slightly in modern times how is global warming now implicated in puffin flocks declining numbers ?

  6. December 9, 2022 12:13 pm

    Okay, let us examine the puff on puffins. While Wikipedia has its problems, I have found it to be good on plants and animals. I was looking for indications of species ages for them (just as I have done for polar bears in the past) to combat “the puffin sky is falling”. I was not disappointed. Here is a compellation from their article pertaining to species.

    Puffins, the genus Fratercula, are of the alcid group of birds. The oldest alcid fossil is Hydrotherikornis from Oregon dating to the Late Eocene while fossils of Aethia and Uria go back to the Late Miocene. Molecular clocks have been used to suggest an origin in the Pacific in the Paleocene.

    The Fraterculini are thought to have originated in the Pacific, primarily due to their greater diversity there; there exists only one extant species in the Atlantic, compared to two in the Pacific. The Fraterculini fossil record in the Pacific extends at least as far back as the middle Miocene. Although there are no records from the Miocene in the Atlantic, a re-examination of fossil material from North Carolina indicated that the diversity of puffins in the early Pliocene was as great in the Atlantic as it is in the Pacific today. This diversity was achieved through influxes of puffins from the Pacific; the later loss of species was due to major oceanographic changes in the late Pliocene due to closure of the Panamanian Seaway and the onset of severe glacial cycles in the North Atlantic.

    Conclusion….Puffins have “been there and done that” for some time…..

    • John Hultquist permalink
      December 9, 2022 5:07 pm

      Thanks Joan.
      You just answered the questions I was thinking about.

  7. The Informed Consumer permalink
    December 9, 2022 12:36 pm

    Should this be a ‘Tweet’ to Elon?

    I’ll get my coat………

  8. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 9, 2022 1:19 pm

    I guess that if your job relies on working with Puffins etc and there’s a chance of redundancies all you have to do is make up some scare story about numbers falling dramatically because of CC and the PTB who hold the purse strings will have difficulty denying you the money needed because to do so would mean they would have to deny CC. It’s all a circular scam in order to get more grant money.

  9. December 9, 2022 1:23 pm

    Just for fun:
    There’s nuffin, nuffin, nuffin,
    Quite so happy as a Puffin
    When he’s busy doing Nuffin
    In the blue.

    My Grandad called me Puffin and taught me this little ditty when I was around 4. and it comes to me on many occasions when I’m doing precisely that, such on the top of a high hill I’ve just climbed, looking out over the world.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 9, 2022 1:48 pm

    I guess you were too young for the pipe when your Granddad christened you Puffin’ certainly suits you now when I look at your blog pic. 🙂

    • December 9, 2022 2:13 pm

      Ah Yes. A total lie; you should see me now, bedbound and wasting away with little but memories to keep me going and bits of home grown philosophy to bore everyone.
      In fact I’m tempted here to say that “I keep my pecker up” under the circumstances; but well know that in American circles this would merit immediate platforming or whatever they do these days. Whereas here in the U.K. it would be considered perhaps a bit quaint but certainly innocuous.
      C’est la Vie.👍😉🤭

  11. Jack Broughton permalink
    December 9, 2022 2:38 pm

    Can anyone assist me with a question. I am in a battle on another web-site regarding the 1.5 deg K disaster value. This value started much higher and has been reduced in each IPCC report. Does anyone know by-whom and how this value was arrived at?

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        December 9, 2022 10:43 pm

        Thanks, John, a great link.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 9, 2022 5:45 pm

      Perhaps you could point out that the Earth’s temperature and CO2 levels have been vastly different to those at present, including high CO2 during ice ages and vice versa.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        December 9, 2022 10:46 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion, the issue is more specific as I said that the 1.5 deg K was pure fantasy without any basis in fact, and have been challenged to give references to support this view by some dedicated warmists.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        December 9, 2022 11:09 pm

        You could try asking them to produce references to a published peer-reviewed scientific paper making the case for such an arbitrary limit via clearly described scientific methodology, preferably complete with citations in other peer-reviewed publications, as opposed to suspiciously precise random numbers plucked from thin air, of course.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        December 10, 2022 10:23 am

        Jack, you say that alarmists have asked you to prove the 1.5 was fantasy: I would say that the burden of proof is on them to show that it has credence in any science-based published peer-reviewed paper. As far as I know, 1.5 (prev 2.0) was only included in the SPM and was not based on any technical papers used by the IPCC.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      December 11, 2022 3:49 pm

      Thanks for the help, so far as I can ascertain the fear campaign of the early IPCC models and their predictions of rising sea levels flooding all the small islands was the only basis for the original 2 deg K value. These models were even worse then than now, and are still crude approximations to the real world’s climate, but they are still touted as factual. It is incredible that these wild predictions have caused a real disaster in Europe.

      The reduced target of 1.5 deg K arose form a consensus of “70 climate scientists” in a UN report is 2022, for which read activists: we all know what consensus among “climate-scientists” means!

      I could solve the 1.5 deg K fear-campaign at a stroke: reject the calculated cooling of the historical temperature records and apply proper UHI adjustments (i.e. reductions) to the land data: the warming would then be very modest.

  12. dearieme permalink
    December 9, 2022 4:04 pm

    We used to live a ten minute cycle from a beach. Offshore there was an island which hotched – positively hotched, my dears – with puffins. I can reveal that they are (i) beautiful, and (ii) argumentative little bastards.

    That short paragraph contains more facts about puffins than anything written by the Climate Conspirators.

  13. Diogenese permalink
    December 9, 2022 4:13 pm

    Yet today reports say that the North of Greenland had aspen forests not that long ago , where did the puffins best then ?

  14. December 9, 2022 4:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  15. Cheshire Red permalink
    December 9, 2022 5:30 pm

    No shortage of puffins about these days. Attention-seeking things they are, too.

  16. John Hultquist permalink
    December 9, 2022 5:35 pm

    About 7 years ago I read that the editors of major nature/environment type magazines met yearly to discuss the publishing business. One topic would be the selection of a cute and cuddly creature (cuddle a Polar Bear!) that might be used in unison to convince “the public” that there is a serious threat — “everyone is talking about it”. That might have been the year that the first Puffin apocalypse was announced.

    I wonder what a Puffin would think if you told her “stormy weather” was bad for her health.

  17. liardetg permalink
    December 9, 2022 7:24 pm

    87% for one specirs. 80% for another? Something wrong here

  18. ME JB permalink
    December 9, 2022 7:32 pm

    ‘Gull’ ible! Ha ha ha!!!

  19. Ben Vorlich permalink
    December 9, 2022 11:28 pm

    Children won’t know what sea ice is.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      December 10, 2022 9:33 am

      There were 2 or 3 winters in the 80s when the sea properly froze around parts of the east and south coast.
      I noticed, quite a few years ago now, when the official data was still easily available, they had replaced the incredible cold recorded by my local weather station with missing data.
      Not quite as easy to erase all the old news stories though.

  20. George Lawson permalink
    December 10, 2022 11:10 am

    As usual with these silly reports, no scientist or researcher responsible for such outrageously stupid stories like this, ever put their names to their end-of-the-world forecasts. Unfortunately, the once great Daily Telegraph is becoming the medium for the doom- creating journalists who are prepared to write any such rubbish without question, and as such, are contributing to the downward slide of the papers circulation. The papers support for any silly story providing it supports the global warming fraud will be the main course of its ultimate demise.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 10, 2022 2:58 pm

      I wonder if this has something to do with it?

      This donation has been occurring since at least 2017, incidentally.

      • George Lawson permalink
        December 10, 2022 7:07 pm

        Thank you. It seems quite unbelievable and disgraceful that the management/owners of the Daily Telegraph should follow the political inclination of a wealthy American in exchange for $2.5 million each year. How can a newspaper carry news as a free agent when it publishes news to suit a paying individual with questionable ideas on how the world should develop?

      • December 10, 2022 9:49 pm

        Thanks George. So that is the reason I cancelled my Telegraph subscription. I thought it had just it had gone off the rails by itself.

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        December 11, 2022 12:14 am

        ” A reduction in food and stormy weather caused by climate change ” ……

        There’s an improperly worded slip and notice the moving the goalposts prediction to 80 years hence …..The classic unfalsifiable hypothesis studded with the qualifiers ” may and ” could be ” …….

        Why did Puffin populations recover and proliferate through to the 1960’s and 70’s when Atlantic storminess and polar vortexes worsened or as the birds geographical range suggests do they survive and thrive in a variety of conditions from the frigid northern Arctic to the subtropical zones of northwest Africa ?

  21. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 10, 2022 7:11 pm

    The latest BBC Climate Check video is just an explain away of the current cold weather back to ‘it’s weather not climate stupid’ that they forget whenever it is hot.
    There’s also some extremely misleading maps of frost and snow lying days. Before the 1980s there was little snow ever on the south coast in my lifetime, we averaged 5-7 days. Then 2 or 3 80s winters had weeks of relentless frost and lying snow so obviously if you include that decade in a 30 year period it will completely sway the figures. Then from 1990 the usual near snowless winters returned. There are always individual exceptionally snowy/cold winters, 1963 etc., that make such average comparisons nonsense, let alone the 80s decade that packed 3 unusual winters in.

  22. BLACK PEARL permalink
    December 10, 2022 11:47 pm

    EU giving permission for continental fishing boats to hoover up tons of sand eels for fertiliser from the north Sea before any new regulation came in, wont help.

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