Mark Wild, the man responsible for bringing the world the hugely successful Meerkat Manor series is back after a long absence from the industry. His latest project is called Puffin Island. This is a unique and fascinating documentary mini-series, revealing the unseen private lives of these popular, and comical birds, as they struggle to survive on a remote Scottish Island.
The puffin is a much-loved and iconic bird, adorning the cover of children’s books for 70 years, but despite its popularity, very little is really known about the private life of the puffin. What we do know is that puffins now face extinction. They are now as endangered as African elephants and lions. Always at risk from predators on land and in the air, for centuries, the rocky shores that surround the puffins’ rocky island retreats were a hazard to shipping. Frequent shipwrecks, brought plagues of rats, who quickly devoured puffin eggs and chicks and decimated puffin populations.
Now a new and more modern threat has emerged in the shape of global warming. Puffins are particularly susceptible to shifts in sea temperatures, thermal mixing and extreme weather, all affecting their prey species of sand eels, sprats and other small fish. Recent severe winters have caused flooding and a shortage of food, which badly affected burrow-nesting puffins and their chicks during their last breeding season. Dozens of these beautiful seabirds were subsequently washed-up along the coasts of Scotland and Northern England.
Using state-of-the-art technology, infrared lights and cameras, we will be up-close with the puffins, observing their natural behaviour without-disturbing them. Tiny lipstick cameras will show the puffins’ point-of-view and watch them deep in their burrows. In the sky and in the sea, using drones, and underwater cameras, we will be immersed in their secret undersea world and learn all about the fascinating private life of this magical little bird, known affectionately as the Penguin of the North or Parrot of the Sea.