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Last Updated: Saturday July 18 2009 16:35 GMT

Europe's oldest puffin found


The oldest puffin in Europe has been found living on an island off the west coast of Scotland, say bird experts.

We're always hearing about wild animals being tagged, well thousands of birds have tiny rings put on their legs to keep track of what happens to them too.

Now ornithologists on a bird-ringing expedition in the Shiant Isles in the Hebrides, say they've found a puffin they ringed more than 34 years ago.

It beats the previous oldest puffin, which was a 33-year-old in Iceland.

Puffin facts
A puffling on St Kilda
Their teeth point backwards
They're only about 30 cms tall
A baby puffin is called a puffling
Their bills can hold lots of fish

The 34-year-old bird was caught by a man called Ian Buxton, who first put the tiny identification ring on the puffin's leg on 28 June 1975.

During this year's expedition, they also came across another old age puffin who was 32.

And experts are hopeful an even older bird could be found in the future.

David Steventon, from the Shiants Auks ringing group, said: "We would expect that about 25 of the 441 birds ringed in 1975 will still be alive and could be recaught in 2009.

"There could even be a handful remaining alive from those ringed back in 1970, so there is potential to break the record again in the next few years."