The 4 Best Ways to See Puffins in Maine

Updated: May 19, 2021

Add seeing puffins in Maine to your birding bucket list. Start at the Project Puffin headquarters before embarking on island tours of seabird colonies.

puffins in MaineScott Suriano/Getty Images
A puffin comes in for a landing.

The National Audubon Society began Project Puffin to reintroduce the birds to their historic nesting area in the Gulf of Maine. Using decoys, transplanted chicks, sound machines and even artificial burrows, the endeavor proved successful, and now there are several ways to see puffins in Maine.

1. Project Puffin Visitors Center in Maine

The Rockland, Maine, headquarters offers live video streams and interactive exhibits about puffin natural history. From July to August, the center hosts science programs for children and guest speakers for all ages. It’s a great first stop to learn more about the project and get info on boat tours.

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2. Eastern Egg Rock

Begin your Atlantic puffins in Maine sea excursion with a trip to Eastern Egg Rock. It’s the world’s first re-established seabird colony and hosts puffins as well as several species of terns. The waters around the island tend to be calm, which is ideal for travelers prone to seasickness.

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3. Petit Manan Island

Take a boat tour of Petit Manan Island for captivating views of puffins, laughing gulls, razorbills, terns, black guillemots and common eiders. The island also boasts one of Maine’s tallest lighthouses. Pair your island journey with a longer sea birding trip.

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Bnbbyc18 Mary Ann IngraoCourtesy Mary Ann Ingrao
Puffins on Machias Seal Island in Maine

4. Machias Seal Island

Be one of the lucky few to watch puffins at arm’s length on Machias Seal Island. Bold Coast Charter Co. takes a select number of passengers to the island to view puffins from bird blinds on land. Tours tend to fill quickly.

We went to Machias Seal Island in July to see the nesting Atlantic Puffins,” says Mary Ann Ingrao. “I was able to capture this moment from the safety of a blind; with a Nikon D7200 and Tamron 150-600mm lens. This pair was just so animated and positioned beautifully with the sea and rocks creating a painting effect behind them. I will never forget their beautiful sounds and bill clanking greetings or how they dove with fish into the rock burrows.

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