Monday 22 September 2014

Phil's still puffing thanks to kind-hearted Maggie

Published 17/07/2013 | 05:36

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Phil the Puffin in the arms of his saviour, Maggie Prendiville in Cordal before they headed back to Skellig Michael last week. Photo by John Reidy

One lucky little devil of a Puffin chick spent a week of pampering and devouring Mackerel strips in Cordal.

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Phil de Puffing - Puffin chicks are known to humans as 'Puffings' according to Maggie Prendiville. I don't know how they think of or refer to each other - if at all.

Anyway, Maggie, a tour guide on the World Heritage listed Skellig Micheal, found the little native all helpless after it had fallen or was pushed from its nest. Knowing that the creature had little or no chance of surviving without the aforementioned pampering, Maggie made him as comfortable as possible for the boat trip to the mainland and for the long journey from Portmagee to Cordal West.

Showing no signs of the colour of his elders and still quite downy even, Phil - a name conferred by Maggie as it covers both genders - grew in strength and will during its week in Cordal.

It was being prepared for the long journey back to the sacred island when the photograph was taken.

Due to the fact that their natural predator, Black Backed Gulls share the colony on the island, this little bird was very lucky to have been found by a tourist and given in to Maggie's safe keeping.

"It would be natural for chicks to be accompanied by an adult at all times while they're in their burrows or on the ledge. I'll feed 'him' for another couple of weeks when we get back to the island and some calm night when I know that the sea is not going to blow up I'll set 'him' free. Their natural instinct is to get out on the water as soon as they gain their independence," said Maggie.

They inhabit the island from around April to August and some spend the winter in parts of Canada in search of seasonal food - recent research has discovered.

I'll know by next week's issue how Phil's maiden voyage went and how he / she took to the water and to the real world.

Well done Maggie.


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