Puffin Islands Online

Learn about the remarkable lives of puffins and other seabirds from renowned researchers at your leisure and in your home.
Photo: Jean Hall

Puffin Islands Online

Learn about the remarkable lives of puffins and other seabirds from renowned researchers at your leisure and in your home.

Puffin Islands Online Trailer.


In 2019, four dynamic leaders in seabird science and conservation came together at the Hog Island Audubon Camp to offer a new program called “Puffin Islands.” These scientists shared their personal experiences and discoveries made while studying seabirds. They gave inspiring presentations about seabird family life, migration, adaptations for life at sea, and the challenges that seabirds face in a world where even the most remote islands are affected by humans. 

These presentations, filmed on Hog Island, are now available via a new Audubon online course: “Puffin Islands Online.” The self-paced course is ideal for teens and adults who care about ocean life and want to know more about how seabirds migrate and survive in the ocean’s vast expanses.

This unique course includes seven presentations and four live webinars with the instructors. Participants may view presentations at their convenience and as many times as desired without an expiration date. Registration is limited to assure opportunities to interact with the instructors during the webinars.


Project Puffin – Dr. Steve Kress.  Project Puffin’s founder recounts how he conceived of the plan to bring puffins back to Egg Rock in 1973, and shares some of the project’s challenges and highlights. (20 minutes)

Saving Seabirds: Lessons Learned from Puffins and Terns – Dr. Steve Kress. Restoration methods developed for puffins have inspired a worldwide movement to restore rare and endangered seabirds. Learn how these seabirds are offering new insights into climate change. (24 minutes)

Seabird Senses – Dr. Don Lyons. Seabirds have a remarkable sense of sight, smell, and memory. Project Puffin’s science director shares how these senses help seabirds navigate the oceans, and find food, mates, and nesting places. (37 minutes)

Seabird Family Life – Dr. Annette Fayet.  This puffin researcher and seabird scientist shares how seabirds choose mates, and how clutch size, incubation, chick rearing, and foraging habits affect their nesting success. (22 minutes)

Seabird Adaptations for Life at Sea – Dr. Annette Fayet. Learn about seabirds’ amazing abilities, including waterproofing behavior, separating salt from water, and locating and catching food in the vast ocean.  (21 minutes)

Seabird Migration – Dr. Annette Fayet. Learn about seabird migration and how her discoveries about puffin migration are helping ocean conservation.  (24 minutes)

Tufted Puffins – Dr. John Piatt. This Tufted Puffin enthusiast and researcher describes why Tufted Puffins face conservation challenges through much of their range.  His research demonstrates how Tufted Puffin diets indicate changes in the marine food web. Enjoy this virtual tour of the rarely visited and spectacular seabird nesting colonies of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. (35 minutes)

Live Q & A webinars - all will be held at 7pm ET via Zoom
All live components will be recorded for further review or viewing.

September     1    Steve Kress

September     8    Don Lyons

September   15   Annette Fayet

September   22   John Piatt

Meet the Instructors:

Annette Fayet, Ph.D.  

Annette Fayet is a junior research fellow at the University of Oxford (UK), and a National Geographic Explorer. She grew up in France where she studied engineering, before moving to England where she received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in biology at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the ecology of seabirds and their migratory behavior, using miniature tracking devices. She works on UK breeding seabirds (particularly Atlantic Puffins), as well as other species in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  Dr. Fayet looks for conservation implications in her research and collaborates with other researchers to help inform conservation decisions such as the location of marine protected areas.



Steve Kress, Ph.D.

Steve Kress is the founder of National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin. He previously served as vice-president for bird conservation at the National Audubon Society and director of the Hog Island Audubon Camp. His career has focused on developing techniques for managing colonial nesting seabirds. Hundreds of professional seabird biologists can trace their first interest in seabirds to internships with Project Puffin and many innovative seabird conservation methods that he developed in Maine are now standard practice worldwide. Dr. Kress received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Ohio State University. He has authored numerous books on bird watching and gardening for birds, as well as science papers about seabirds. He is co-author with Derrick Z. Jackson of ‘Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock’ (Yale University Press, 2015) and ‘The Puffin Plan’ for younger readers (Tumblehome Books 2020).



Don Lyons, Ph.D. 

Don Lyons is director of conservation science for National Audubon's Seabird Institute. He has participated in seabird science and conservation for 20 years as a graduate student, post-doc, and assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. His interests include restoring seabird colonies using social attraction and understanding the relationship between seabirds and forage fish. His background as an electrical engineer and seabird biologist informs his research on tracking seabird foraging, dispersal, and migration, and assessing the impact of climate change on seabird breeding success and population resiliency. He has investigated the steep decline of Aleutian Terns in Alaska, assisted the program to restore the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern in Asia, and resolve conflicts stemming from Caspian Terns’ consumption of threatened salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Lyons currently gives presentations throughout the summer season at the Hog Island Audubon Camp, instructors at the Saving Seabirds session and directs the Puffins Islands session.

John Piatt, Ph.D.


John Piatt got hooked on seabirds in the 1970s while camping near a large puffin colony in Witless Bay, Newfoundland. Following stints as a naturalist at Cape St. Mary’s gannet colony, and surveying birds and whales off the coasts of Labrador and Baffin Island, he returned to Newfoundland to study the ecological relationships between capelin, cod, seabirds, and whales for his Ph.D. at Newfoundland’s Memorial University. Lured to Alaska in 1987 to study auklets in the Bering Sea, Dr. Piatt is now a senior research scientist at the USGS Alaska Science Center, and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. His conservation-oriented research has included studies on the impacts of gill-net bycatch, algal biotoxins, plastic consumption, and oil pollution on seabirds. His research focuses on the overarching role of ocean climate in regulating the abundance and quality of the forage fish that support seabird populations.



  • Seven presentations available immediately after registration with a special password and weblink.
  • Four live webinars with the presenters.
  • Recommended books and supplemental readings.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • $125 cost includes unlimited access to all presentations with NO expiration date. 
    **Sales tax applies to ME, NY, and CA.


What students have to say about our online programs:

“Thoroughly enjoyed it!”

“Language that an average person can understand and appreciate.”

“Easy to understand- every word fit the whole presentation”

“10 out of 10!! Congratulations for an excellent course”

Questions: For questions regarding payment and registration, contact the Project Puffin Visitor Center and online store manager at or 207-596-5566.  

Proceeds from your registration benefit the Audubon Seabird Institute’s conservation programs.

Videos by Hudson Media Empire
©2020 National Audubon Society

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