State considers listing tufted puffin as endangered species

The tufted puffin is in decline, and the state is considering adding the Pacific Northwest bird to the list of endangered species. (Shutterstock)

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting public comment on a status report for the tufted puffin, and a proposal to add the Pacific Northwest bird to the state’s list of endangered species.

Tufted puffins are native seabirds once common in the San Juan Islands, Strait of Juan de Fuca and along the state’s coast, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release. But over the last several decades, 38 of 43 known breeding sites have been abandoned or seen significant declines in use.

If the tufted puffin is approved for listing, the agency will develop a recovery plan for the species.

The federal government is also considering adding tufted puffins to the list of wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the decision is not expected until 2016 or 2017, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.

Fish and wildlife will accept written comment on the state report and proposal through Dec. 11.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will review the report and recommendation at its January meeting, and could make a decision at its February meeting.

The report is available online at

Send comments by email to or by mail to Penny Becker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife,600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

(1) comment


There's been a growing presence of cormorants in the central and south Puget Sound, who leave during the breeding season, then return in late Summer. On a camping trip to the Strait this Summer (near Hoko River) I saw a fair number of young cormorants there... and wondered if this was where the 'local' birds are coming to nest.
I have seen cormorants in places in Oregon (Willamette River) where I never saw them in years past... and have heard that one species is actually being considered for 'thinning out' by government agencies dealing with colonies near the mouth of the Columbia River.
Is it possible that the cormorant population is crowding the puffins out of their traditional breeding & nursery areas?

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