WATCHING puffins at Flamborough is one of the best wildlife-watching spectacles in the whole of Yorkshire, according to David Craven.

With their bright orange legs, webbed feet and distinctive blue, red and yellow bills they’re one of our quirkiest, most recognisable birds.

And the beginning of June, when they raise their chicks on the Yorkshire cliffs, is the perfect time to see them, says the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s east regional manager.

“They’ve returned after spending the winter at seas, found their lifelong mate, and stay for just a few weeks to raise their puffling chick,” he said.

York Press: Quirky: a puffinQuirky: a puffin (Image: Neil Aldridge)

“They’re such characterful birds with their bright beaks and tuxedo-like markings, whizzing to and from the cliffs.”

The cliffs between Filey and Bridlington are home to one of the largest mainland puffin colonies in the UK – 31 per cent of all British puffins live here at this time of year.

And the wildlife trust’s Flamborough Cliffs nature reserve is one of the few places in the UK where you can actually see the birds without having to take a boat.

It’s just a short walk from the car park at North Landing to the cliffs where they gather in their thousands. “And spotting them is an experience that delights so many people,” David said.

York Press: Bren O'HaraBren O'Hara (Image: Bren O'Hara)

The return of the annual Yorkshire Puffin Festival on the weekend of June 1 and 2 is the ideal chance to get to see these remarkable birds.

There will be a host of weekend activities to celebrate and help protect one of the nation’s best-loved seabirds.

As well as observing them from the clifftops – with the help of expert spotters, if you want it – there will also be a chance to learn more about the birds, and the risks posed to them by climate change.

“Unfortunately, puffins globally are in decline and although numbers in Yorkshire have remained reasonably steady at around 4,000, they are at risk from the effects of climate change on their main food source, sand eels,” David said.

“These wonderful birds need our help, through protection of their fishing grounds and food supply to their fragile marine habitat, so we’ll be helping people to find out take action over the weekend too.”

And that’s not all. Despite it’s name, the puffin festival is about much more than just puffins.

Visitors to Flamborough Cliffs over the weekend of the festival will also be able to enjoy a ‘magical guided walk at dusk’ – the perfect time to spot the reserve’s resident barn owls.

Other activities throughout the weekend, for adults and children alike, will include:

  • boat trips by traditional fishing coble to discover the rugged coastline and watch seabirds from a different angle;
  • a craftivism art mural using marine plastic litter collected from Yorkshire’s beaches; • the chance to create a collage puffin, gannet or shag using recycled materials to hang in your window;
  • storytelling with Mud Pie Arts about Perry the puffin and his friends;
  • the ‘marine litter game’ - explore what wildlife can be found on the ‘strandline tray’, and pick yourself up some puffin and coastal-themed gifts;
  • Meeting Cliff – the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s giant cuddly puffin mascot.

There’s also a wacky seabird challenge - can you spit like a fulmar?

York Press: A boat trip during the Yorkshire Puffin FestivalA boat trip during the Yorkshire Puffin Festival (Image: Supplied)

The puffin festival is funded and supported by Yorkshire Coast BID.

Some activities, including the boat trip, require pre-booking.

“But there will be lots happening to drop-in or book on the day,” a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson said.

“The festival Puffin HQ to find out more will be based at North Landing, where parking and refreshments are also available.”

To find out more, visit

There will also be plenty to enjoy online at, where you can become a ‘puffin protector’ and download a free pack full of puffin facts and activities to do at homes.