Population status

Atlantic Puffin
(Fratercula arctica)

Atlantic Puffins are censused through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Seabird Colony Monitoring Program at a number of large breeding colonies across Atlantic Canada and Quebec. These surveys have documented variable population trends. At Gull Island, Witless Bay, Newfoundland, puffin abundance increased by >100% between 1973 and 2003, but farther north in the Gannet Islands, Labrador, abundance decreased slightly over a similar time period. Colonies on the north shore of the St. Lawrence decreased through the 1990s (Lowther et al. 2002), and are currently below levels seen in the 1970s. Overall, however, Atlantic Puffins in Canada have exhibited a moderate increase in abundance since about 1970, particularly over the last decade. However, because current information is lacking at some colonies, the assessment is considered only moderately reliable. The Atlantic Puffin is currently at an acceptable level relative to its national population goal (see graph below).


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
Atlantic PuffinMean abundance (2008-2012)Mean long-term abundance (1970-2012) minus 25%Not applicable

Seabird Colony Monitoring Program

Additional information on: Seabird Colony Monitoring Program

Table 1: Population trends by geographic area
Geographic areaTime PeriodAnnual Trend Table 1 - footnote 1 Limits
Eastern Canada Select to view graph of the geographic area: Eastern Canada 1970-2016; Seabird Colony Monitoring Program1970-20161.2-0.32.7
Eastern Canada2006-20163.1-2.79.6