05/17/2013 at 02:00 PM EDT
A census has begun to determine how many breeding pairs of puffins live in the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, England.
This is no fly-by-night operation – the survey, done every five years, takes National Trust rangers three months to complete, as they diligently check every spot the black-and-white seabirds may nest.
According to ITV
, a U.K. public service network, the count done in 2008 indicated puffin numbers had decreased by one-third, a significant change from the previous 65 years, which showed a steady increase in puffins. Unusually cold weather is suspected of causing the drop in breeding.
Funny, we thought that would have created more