Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Translocate auks

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A replicated study in the USA and Canada found that 20% of 774 translocated Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica remained in or near the release site, with up to 7% breeding.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated study reviewing a 1973-81 translocation programme for Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica (Kress & Nettleship 1998) found that less than 0.3% of 774 nestlings moved from Newfoundland, Canada, to Maine, USA, died during the move, with 95% of the remaining 772 birds successfully fledging.  Twelve percent (87 birds) were re-sighted at the release site, with a further 8% (60 birds) seen elsewhere in the Gulf of Maine. Translocated birds were first recorded as breeding in 1981, with at least 36 translocated birds and six other birds being confirmed as breeding at the release site in 1985, with 17 more birds breeding on other islands nearby. Seventy eight percent of these breeding attempts (49 attempts) produced chicks surviving for at least 21 days. Nestlings between two and 40 days old were taken from their burrows and moved to the release site within 17 hours. They were then confined to artificial burrows and fed two meals of 50 g of fish and vitamins daily for seven days. They were then allowed to leave the burrows to begin flying. From 1977 onwards, puffin decoys were placed on the island to encourage birds to return, and herring gull Larus argentatus and great black-backed gull L. marinus were culled and nests destroyed in 1974-5.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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