Tiny puffin released back into the wild after getting lost miles inland

A tiny puffin who was found wandering along a country lane miles from the sea has been rescued.

Animal rescue officer Shane Lynn, from the RSPCA, was called out to Durham on Monday 26 April after a man found the little bird alone off a quiet country lane.

“We were contacted by a member of the public on Sunday evening after he’d found a tiny puffin wandering along a country lane, miles from the coast,” Shane said.

“He kindly caught the little bird, popped him in a box to keep him safe and took him home. 

It seems as though the puffin got lost and ended up landing inland, around three miles from the coast, and couldn’t then get airborne again.” 

Shane Lynn, RSPCA Animal rescue officer

In summer, adult puffins are easily recognised by their colourful parrot like bill.

They nest in colonies, rearing their young in underground burrows.

The young birds then go to sea when they fledge, not returning to the colony for at least two years. 

Shane and the rescued puffin Credit: RSPCA

Adult birds will also start leaving the colony when their offspring have fledged, to spend the winter at sea before coming to the UK’s shores in spring and summer to breed.

Shane added: “I was so excited when the call came in as I’ve never been out to a puffin before. But I was also worried about the little chap as I knew he shouldn’t be that far inland.

"Thankfully, he wasn’t injured and we believe he simply got confused and ended up landing in the wrong spot. I took him to a vet for a check-up and contacted one of our wildlife centres for advice before feeding him and taking him to Headland at Hartlepool to release.

He hopped down onto the sand and then flew off across the sea and into the distance. It was breathtaking to watch; there really is no better feeling than returning a wild animal back into the wild where they belong.

Shane Lynn, Animal rescue officer