Project Puffin Update

Friday 30th September 2016

Puffin decoys on the Calf of Man. Lara Howe

Our Calf of Man based initiative is progressing well

Back in April, one hundred decoy puffins were placed on the Calf of Man, part of an initiative to encourage real live puffins to return to, and hopefully, nest on the island once more.

After first identifying two good potential nesting sites, with excellent views across to Spanish Head, a group of Trust and Manx National Heritage staff and volunteers placed fifty of the fake birds on a slope near to the upper lighthouse.

The remaining decoys were then arranged around a second site, just south of Kione ny Halby on the east coast, alongside a speaker system playing puffin calls, kindly donated by the Manx Ornithological Society.

Over the summer months we received a number of reports of puffins seen in and around the Calf, but sadly our camera traps haven’t managed to pick up any signs on land, yet.

A similar project, on Copeland Island in Northern Ireland, has had a successful outcome and we are hopeful that our project will also produce some good results. However, we are expecting it to be a long term project, especially as prospecting juveniles can take up to five years to reach breeding age.

In July we returned and, with the help of the Calf wardens, we uprooted the decoys and packed them away, ready for their winter rest.

We’re delighted to report that only two out of the one hundred had been damaged, one by a cantering Loughtan sheep, but we've been assured by the technicians at Manx National Heritage that they can rebuild them, ready for the 2017 spring/summer season!

We’re very grateful to everyone who has made this project possible by sponsoring one or more of our decoy puffins. Our thanks too to the Manx Ornithological Society for funding the speaker system and to Gough Ritchie for its financial support.  We'd also like to thank Manx National Heritage staff, including technician Geoff Mitchell, our volunteers and the Calf wardens, for all their help in siting the fake birds.

We plan to do it all again come next spring!

More information

If you’d like more information about this project, or if you’d like to find out how you can sponsor one of the decoy birds, please contact the Trust’s Marine Officer, Lara Howe, by email:

Puffins installed on Calf, April 2016
Puffin project launched, December 2015

Tagged with: Birds, Calf of man, Marine, Puffins