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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

The Puffin Premiere: Rathlin's feathered friends are back!

Puffin on Rathlin Island, County Antrim

RSPB NI is pleased to announce that the punctual Puffins have returned!

As anticipation builds for spring, the first of these charismatic seabirds were spotted arriving to the island on Tuesday, March 26.

Traditionally, the Puffins have returned around the same date every year for the last seven years, arriving just in time for the clocks changing at the end of March.

The sight of these remarkable creatures with their distinctive orange feet and bright bills is a wonderful occasion for all, signalling the start of a new nesting season.

West Light Seabird Centre on Rathlin Island, County Antrim

West Light Seabird Centre on Rathlin Island, County Antrim

West Light Seabird Centre on Rathlin Island, County Antrim

Liam McFaul, RSPB NI Rathlin Reserves Warden said:

"Witnessing the first Puffins returning to the island is always a thrilling experience. Their arrival indicates the renewal of life on the Rathlin cliffs, as they prepare to nest and rear their young in the weeks to come.

"The best time for a close-up view of the Puffins and our other seabirds is usually late April to early July."

Rathlin Island is not only a haven for Puffins but also hosts a diverse array of birdlife, including Razorbills, Fulmars, and Guillemots. Visitors to the island will have the opportunity to observe these fascinating seabirds as they go about their breeding activities amongst the stunning backdrop of Rathlin’s cliffs.

Puffins on Rathlin Island, County Antrim

Puffins are endangered, and Rathlin Island remains one of the prime locations to catch a glimpse of the species in Northern Ireland. The reopening of RSPB NI’s West Light Seabird Centre on Easter Sunday will allow visitors to submerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the largest seabird colony in Northern Ireland.

Experience wildlife in front of your eyes, where thousands of birds raise their chicks on the cliff edges at the West Light Seabird Centre.

The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

West Lighthouse, Rathlin Island, County Antrim

West Lighthouse, Rathlin

For those seeking adventure, RSPB NI offers a range of walking trails that showcase Rathlin’s breathtaking landscapes.

Whether it is exploring the Craigmacagan walk or embarking on the Roonivoolin route, visitors are guaranteed to be captivated by the island’s rugged charm.

Plan your visit to RSPB NI’s Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre and discover the wonders of Rathlin Island. For more information on opening times and walking trails, visit:

For further details on Rathlin Island and transportation options, please visit:


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