THE RSPB have launched a new project in which members of the public can help struggling puffin populations - by photographing the birds.

This summer, scientists from the charity are asking members of the public to play “a pivotal role” in helping to save UK puffins by becoming members of the ‘Puffarazzi’ and snapping images of the seabird to help scientists discover more about what they feed their chicks.

By photographing puffins carrying fish in their bills for their chicks, ‘citizen scientists’ will be able to play an important role in helping to stop the decline of this seabird.

Once uploaded to the Project Puffin webpage, RSPB scientists will analyse the photos and identify the fish to build up a better picture of what puffins in the UK and Ireland are feeding their chicks, and why some colonies are thriving while others continue to struggle.

In recent years puffin populations have plummeted in UK and Europe, with warming seas and shifting ocean currents having a negative effect on fish supply.

Ellie Owen, RSPB Conservation Scientist leading on Project Puffin, said: “Everyone can identify a puffin, with their colour bills and unique eye markings.

“Their distinctive features make them more familiar than even some garden birds, but sadly our puffin population is in trouble.

“Their numbers have dropped dramatically across key parts of their range in recent years and are in desperate need of our help.

“We are working hard to reverse these declines and now everyone can play a pivotal role in helping to save UK puffins. 

“The ‘Puffarazzi’ will help us find out more about what puffins feed their chicks allowing us to better understand why some colonies are thriving while others continue to struggle.

“We know people love puffins and this project gives everybody the opportunity to be part of the work to help save them.”

‘Puffarazzi’ is part of Project Puffin, which launched earlier this year with support from Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland.

In Northern England, there are a number of areas along the East Coast where people can see puffins and become part of the ‘Puffarazzi’: RSPB Bempton Cliffs and nearby Flamborough Head are excellent places to visit to get close up views of thousands of seabirds.

For more information about Project Puffin, where you can find puffins around UK coastlines and how you can become a member of the ‘Puffarazzi’, visit