Skomer’s puffin population has scaled new heights with this year's figures reaching their highest levels since World War II.

Latest figures confirm that the 2022 puffin population reached close to a staggering 39,000 birds.

And this, according to Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, represents an increase of 240 per cent in the last ten years.

“The numbers have been rising for several years but 2022 has seen the highest number of puffins in a long time,” said Skomer warden Laton Newman.

“We’re not sure why the population has grown to such a great extent, but it’s probably down to a combination of factors including good productivity and a good adult survival rate”.

Skomer’s figures are particularly encouraging as many puffin colonies are rapidly declining as a result of climate changes and also because of the over-fishing of sand eels and other small fish species which are being caught to feed farmed trout and to produce salmon pellets. 

Ramsey's puffins were wiped out several decades ago as a result of the island's rat infestation as were Grassholm's. 

But puffins can still be found on Skokholm with a population of around 10,000.

Skomer’s puffins are the Atlantic variety which live out at sea for the majority of the year and only return to land for nesting.

The Puffins arrive in April to begin nesting and leave again at the end of July.

Once on land, the puffin digs a burrow using its sharp claws on its feet, and its beak. The egg is laid in the burrow on a nest of feathers and soft grass.

When the egg hatches after about 40 days, the chick is fed regularly by the parents who can be seen returning to the burrow with mouthfuls of sand eels.

They are at their busiest between June and Mid July.

Their average lifespan is around 20 to 30 years but some have been known to live for up to 40 years.

During that time they find a mate and their bond continues, with one egg being laid every year from the age of around three years old.

The success of the Skomer and Skokholm colonies may be due to the fact the Irish Sea has a totally different temperature range to the main mass of the NE Atlantic and sand-eels are not, as yet, being targeted by the fishing industry.