CCTV specialists use ground-breaking equipment to uncover never before private life of puffins on Coquet Island

A nationally renowned closed circuit security specialist has captured footage of a puffin feeding her young after developing a unique underground camera system.

Excitingly, this is the first time a puffin from the RSPB’s Coquet Island nature reserve, and within the region, has been caught on camera feeding.

2020 Vision, a North Shields-based CCTV systems integrator, which usually specialises in large scale, high security projects, has designed and installed a tiny camera below ground into a puffin’s nest on Coquet Island, just off the coast of Amble in Northumberland.

Video footage from the camera is being transferred via a wireless network to the Northumberland Seabird Centre, in Amble, where RSPB volunteers are on hand to help visitors discover even more about Coquet’s amazing wildlife. The footage is being watched by visitors, including bird lovers and schoolchildren.

The camera, just 30mm in diameter and 100mm in length, has been delicately placed into the puffin burrow in order to capture extraordinary footage of the puffins during the breeding season.  The intimate recording of the puffin family’s behaviour underground is an exciting development for bird research.

“This is something we have never attempted before,” commented Michael Lynch of 2020 Vision. “We specialise in vast industrial projects for establishments such as prisons and universities. To create a camera so minute and specialised is a very new and exciting challenge for us.  The icing on the cake is to unearth unique information about this amazing bird.”

RSPB staff are delighted they have been given this opportunity to monitor the wildlife in such detail, as well as ensuring maximum protection from egg thieves. The detailed footage is also fascinating tourists who visit Amble to witness the incredible arrival and nesting of up to 40,000 seabirds.

Michael continued: “We’re really pleased many thousands of people will now be able to view the habitats and behaviour of the great wildlife we have here in the North East through this special camera.”

Coquet Island is an RSPB reserve about one mile off the coast of Northumberland. The island is completely uninhabited, apart from wardens who protect the birds during the spring and summer months. Britain’s rarest seabird, the roseate tern, nests on Coquet Island. These rare and special birds need peace and quiet to successfully raise their young and for this reason, the public are prohibited from landing on the island.

Paul Morrison, one of the wardens on Coquet Island, commented: “2020 Vision have gone the extra mile to design a system that doesn’t disturb the birds but is capable of clearly filming in dark, enclosed spaces underground.”

Michael concluded: “To have live footage showing how the puffins interact is groundbreaking.  Hopefully, the cameras will continue to reveal even more details of the secret lives of these birds.”

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