The Atlantic puffin is a species of seabird in the order Charadriiformes. It is in the auk family which includes the guillemots, typical auks, murrelets, auklets and the razorbills as well as puffins themselves. The Atlantic puffin is the only species in the genus Fratercula to be found in the Atlantic Ocean.

The scientific name comes from the Medieval Latin “fratercula” (meaning friar) as reference to the black and white which resembles the robes of monks.

The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.

Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.

[via io9]

Happenings on Seal Island, straight from one of our interns! 

Black Guillemots are one of the species we monitor on Seal Island. We record the growth of the chicks over time and have to identify the “A chick,” or the first chick to hatch, from the “B chick,” the second to hatch. Our solution came in the form of a small pink bottle.  The nail polish is great because it doesn’t harm the chicks and will stay on just long enough for us to tell them apart before they leave the nest. In honor of the guilly chicks we painted our nails “fuchsia power” as well. If only we could be as adorable as they are!