PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — One of the most beloved birds in Maine is having one of its most productive seasons for mating pairs in years on remote islands off the state’s coast. Atlantic puffins, with their colorful beaks and waddling walks, are one of New England’s best recognized seabirds. Maine is the only state in the U.S. where the birds breed, and they do so on hard-to-reach places like Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge in the Gulf of Maine, a body of water that touches New England and Canada. The birds are well on their way to setting a record for the number of breeding pairs, said National Audubon Society scientist Stephen Kress, who has studied the birds for years. Kress said nearly 750 pairs nested on Seal Island and Eastern Egg Rock in 2018, and this year’s number will likely be higher. The birds are thriving due to multiple factors, including an abundance of the type of fish they’re best suited to eat, such as young haddock and hake and herring. In some previous years, the birds have suffered because those fish were less available, replaced by fish that are more difficult for them to digest. The appearance […]

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