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Puffin census to determine the number of birds begins

A puffin census is underway on the Farne Islands, taking place every five years, the count will determine how many breeding pairs of the birds live on the iconic habitat.

It will take rangers from the National Trust three months to complete, as the team of eleven searches every burrow they can find.

Puffins on the Inner Farne in the Farne Islands as the 2013 National Trust Puffin census begins

It is necessary to get an accurate number of how many puffins live across the eight islands as this is where they nest.

Until the last census in 2008, the pervious 65 years have shown a steady increase in pairs of puffins on the North East islands, but the last count indicated numbers had fallen by a third.

Throughout summer Rangers will carry out a puffin census to find out how many of these iconic seabirds are living on the island

David Steel, head ranger for the Farne Islands, said: "This March was the coldest on record since 1962 and this could impact on breeding numbers.

The count takes place every five years and dates back to 1939 Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

"The extreme winds affected the puffin's ability to feed as they made their way back to their summer breeding grounds.

"It will be interesting to see the results of the puffin census, which we will have available to share in July."