Puffins and Penguins are pretty versatile birds: they both eat fish, can literally swim like fish to catch the fish, can survive in the toughest of weather conditions, they mostly partner for life, are both delightful in appearance, and are the names and faces of two of the biggest book publication companies in the world!
One of them though has the upper hand: despite the Puffin’s rotund appearance, they can actually fly. They might have to beat their little wings 300 - 400 a minute to achieve this, but in doing so they can reach speeds of 55mph.
According to Icelandic folklore, the puffin - or Lundi - can also predict the weather. During the 8 months they spend bobbing about on the North Atlantic Ocean, they’ve been known to fly onto land a few days before a gale arrives. They were also observed by Icelandic fisherman and would lead them to the catch of the day - bringing new meaning to ‘Captain Birdseye’.
For the 4 months they are on dry land, they get to use another talent that has once again alluded the penguin: digging. Yes, believe it or not these busy little birds use their versatile beaks to shovel away at the dirt, and they’re so good at it that their handy work could easily be mistaken for a rabbits burrow: digging down to depths of 3ft where they can safely lay their eggs.
Unfortunate for the puffin, Inuits used to believe that the birds beaks could also be used for medicinal purposes, as they were collected to make a percussion instrument that had supernatural healing powers. Ireland, on the other hand was a more hospitable place for the puffin, whose inhabitants believed that the birds were actually monks, reincarnated, and so didn’t dream of eating them - or turning them into musical instruments at that matter. Over in Cornwall some went a step further: claiming that the puffin was no less than the reincarnation of King Arthur!
Don’t worry though penguins, you are arguably the better book publication.
Finished puffin painting cut off the board.
Finished penguin painting cut off the board.
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With the exception of artists, inventors, and teenagers - we humans are diurnal daytime creatures on the whole, and although it’s one thing to be out and about during the night in a street lit urban environment, it’s a very different scenario if you find yourself in, say… oh, I don’t know, a forest per se. Where, if you’re lucky, you may hear the unmistakable cry or hoot of an Owl: natures very own nocturne, a stark reminder of the unknown peril of night, and a creature that has featured heavily in myth and folklore throughout the ages.