See A Curious Puffin Befriend A Human
While on vacation with her husband in the Shetland Islands in Scotland, Julie Barry made a new friend.
An Atlantic puffin found its way through a fence and wandered over to where Barry was sitting photographing the birds. It is likely the puffin was looking to breed, as breeding is the only reason puffins go to land.
In the video, which Barry captured on her phone, the puffin ducks under the fence and waddles curiously to Barry’s bag and eventually under her leg. It looks around for a few minutes before strolling away.
Barry said she kept as quiet and still as she could while the bird poked around.
"I couldn't believe how long it stayed under my leg," she wrote in an email. "I don't know if it thought it was in a burrow, but it kept tapping at my lens."
Though the interaction caught on video was affable, humans have historically been destructive to the puffin population. Overfishing has reduced the fish that puffins rely on for food, and the birds have been historically hunted for their feathers and meat. (Read: Iceland’s Seabird Colonies Are Vanishing, With “Massive” Chick Deaths)
Puffins are found from the coast of the northeastern United States to Iceland and the British Isles, though 60 percent of the puffin population lives in Iceland.