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Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Icelandic Tradition

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In Iceland, the unusual yet heartwarming sight of baby puffins being thrown off cliffs marks a cherished annual tradition. This event is far from cruel but rather highlights the islanders’ efforts to guide young pufflings to safety.

Puffins Thrown Off Cliff
Image by Aline Engemann from Pixabay

Baby Puffins Journey to the Sea

The pufflings, inexperienced and easily disoriented by the island’s lights, often find themselves lost on their way to the sea. The compassionate islanders come to their rescue, gently collecting the confused pufflings. They then give them a helpful toss off the cliffs, ensuring their safe descent to the waters below.

This act, performed with utmost care, aids the pufflings in avoiding various hazards and predators, guiding them safely to their oceanic home.

The Puffling Patrol

Children play a significant role in this annual event, forming the “Puffling Patrol.” Armed with boxes, they scour the island at night, seeking lost pufflings to assist in their journey. This delightful tradition not only aids the young birds but also instils in the children a profound respect and love for nature.

Watch Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs


People are tossing baby puffins off cliffs and shorelines in Iceland – and it’s for their own good! These people are on Puffling Patrol and they’re saving the baby puffins one by one ❤️ I first learned about the Puffling Patrol because many of you tagged me in a video by @Kyana Sue Powers • Iceland, and then I went down a rabbit hole learning more about it! She posts about all things Iceland if you’re interested in more. 🇮🇸 🎥 CBC News / Nat Geo TV / @Oda W. Andreasen (TikTok) / CBS / jj.trailwalker (Instagram) / NPR / Sebastien Despres (YouTube)

♬ original sound – jenn💜 good news & fun stories

The puffin population, facing threats from climate change and overfishing, finds an ally in the islanders. The act of puffling tossing is more than a tradition; it’s a vital effort to ensure the survival and thriving of these charming birds. The islanders’ dedicated involvement aids in maintaining a healthy puffin population, contributing to the biodiversity of the region and the world.

A Celebration of Life and Nature

Beyond the practical aspects, the puffling tossing event is a celebration of life and nature. It symbolizes the harmonious coexistence of humans and wildlife, showcasing the potential for humanity to play a positive role in the preservation and flourishing of our planet’s diverse inhabitants. The laughter and joy that resonate across the cliffs during this event are a testament to the enduring bond between the people and puffins of the Westman Islands.

Final Thoughts On Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs

YouTube video

The annual puffling tossing tradition in Iceland’s Westman Islands is a beautiful blend of compassion, cooperation, and celebration. It highlights the significant role communities can play in wildlife conservation, ensuring the survival and prosperity of species, and fostering a harmonious relationship with the natural world.

What do you think about this Icelandic tradition? Leave a comment below.

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