Best Time to See Puffins

Best time to see puffins

If you’re a bird enthusiast or simply captivated by the charm of these adorable creatures, you’re in for a treat. Puffins, with their colorful beaks and comical waddling, are a beloved sight for many nature lovers. But to catch these birds in action, you need to know the best time to see puffins.

Let’s take an education adventure to find the ideal places and seasons for seeing puffins.  The information below will help you find the best place and time to see puffins.

Best Places to See Puffins

Puffins are seabirds that nest in various coastal regions across the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the best places to see these delightful birds include:

  • Iceland: Iceland is home to millions of puffins, particularly in locations like Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) and the cliffs of Dyrhólaey and Látrabjarg. The best time to visit Iceland for puffin sightings is from late April to August.
  • Faroe Islands: Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands offer excellent puffin-watching opportunities. The best time to visit is during the summer months, from May to August.
  • Scotland: Scotland’s remote islands, such as the Shetland and Orkney Islands, provide habitats for puffins. May to August is the prime season for puffin sightings in Scotland.
  • Maine, USA: On the other side of the Atlantic, you can find puffins in the United States. The best time to see puffins in Maine is from late spring to early summer, typically from May to July.

Best Times of Year to See Puffins

Puffins are migratory birds that spend the winter out at sea. They return to land in the spring and summer for breeding and nesting. Therefore, the best times of year to see puffins are typically from late spring to early summer. Here’s a breakdown of their nesting seasons:

  • Late April to Early August: This is the peak puffin-watching season across their various habitats, from Iceland to the Faroe Islands and beyond.

Best Times of Day to See Puffins

The best times of day for puffin sightings often coincide with their feeding patterns. Puffins are diurnal birds, which means they are active during the day. Early morning and late afternoon are generally excellent times for watching puffins as they head out to sea for feeding and return to their nests in the evening.

What are the Best Ways to Experience Puffins

Experiencing puffins in their natural habitat can be a truly magical experience. Here are some ways to make the most of your puffin encounter:

  • Boat Tours: Many coastal areas with puffin colonies offer guided boat tours that take you to their nesting sites. These tours provide up-close views of puffins and other seabirds.
  • Cliff Viewing: Some locations, like Látrabjarg in Iceland or Noss in the Shetland Islands, have cliffs where puffins nest. Viewing platforms or trails along these cliffs allow you to observe puffins without disturbing them.
  • Binoculars and Cameras: Bring a pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to get a closer look at puffins and capture their antics.

Tips for Seeing Puffins

To maximize your chances of seeing puffins and make the most of your puffin-watching adventure, consider these tips:

  • Respect Their Space: Keep a safe and respectful distance from puffin colonies to avoid disturbing the birds.
  • Be Quiet and Patient: Puffins can be skittish, so approach their nesting areas quietly and wait patiently for them to return from sea.
  • Dress for the Weather: Coastal locations can be windy and chilly, so dress in layers and wear sturdy footwear.
  • Check Local Regulations: Some areas may have specific rules or regulations regarding puffin watching, so be sure to check in advance.


The best time to see puffins is during their nesting season in late spring and early summer. Visiting puffin colonies in places like Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, or Maine can provide unforgettable encounters with these charismatic seabirds.

Remember to be respectful, patient, and prepared for the weather to make the most of your puffin-watching adventure. Whether you’re an avid birder or just a casual observer, puffins are sure to capture your heart with their quirky charm.

Photo Credits:
Image by Aidan Semmens from Pixabay


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