Puffins – Clownlike inspiration

Puffins have been in the news this week. Sadly, climate change might be the reason behind the crested or tufted puffins decline in numbers in the Bering Sea.

Although, I have previously used endangered animals as inspiration for ideas, when I selected puffins a couple of weeks ago for a new booklet that I am working on, it was purely because I have always loved this wonderful bird for their expressive clown-like faces and multicoloured bills. I thought that this bird would capture children’s attention and imagination. Using a biomimicry lens to study nature, its models, systems, and processes is important for several reasons, and highligting the importance of the rich variety of species is one.

Puffins have puffed-up appearance and their chicks are fluffy. Puffins look almost like round balls. They are also called “sea parrots” or “tropical penguins” because of their brightly coloured beaks. In the winter, their beaks and their brigthly coloured feet fade to a greyish colour.

Fabulous Observations to Spark New Ideas!

  • Puffins are great diggers – they use their sharp claws on their webbed feet and sharp beaks to dig.
  • Short wings are perfect when diving for fish.
  • Can stay up to a minute under water searching for fish.
  • They can hold at least ten fish in their beaks.
  • It is more difficult for a puffin to hold a large fish since they leave the fish dangling to one side of the mouth.
  • It is important to save energy. They catch several small fish each time since each trip uses a lot of energy.
  • Their beaks have a flexible hinge so the puffin can control the degree of the opening of the mouth.
  • There are spines, denticles, inside the upper jaw. The puffin holds the fish against the spines with its tongue so they can continue to hunt for more fish.

Why not draw a puffin or a couple of puffins in your biomimicry journal while you ponder over a great ideas using puffins as inspiration?

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