Tyne & Wear

Breeding hope for Farne Island puffins

Puffins have begun to return to the Farne Islands for the breeding season Image copyright PA

Rangers on a seabird colony off the Northumberland coast are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather to boost the puffin population.

The Farne Islands are home to up to 40,000 breeding pairs, but storms and torrential rain in 2015 meant chick productivity almost halved.

As the birds return from wintering in the North Atlantic, there are hopes for a more successful breeding season.

The islands are also home to seals, Arctic terns, guillemots, and shags.

The National Trust, which manages the Farne Islands, describes them as the "jewel in its wildlife crown".

Ranger Lana Blakely said: "Last year we had a lot of storms and torrential downpours and a lot of burrows flooded, which is really bad for the chicks and eggs as it means they will fail.

"We had a much lower rate of chicks fledging than we did the previous year, it was nearly half, so quite a big drop.

"Hopefully this year will be much better, just fingers crossed with the weather."

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