When Tufted Puffins Take Flight on Stamps

The Tufted Puffin, a foot-and-a-half tall bird that hunts to 200 feet underwater and is found on the U.S. coast from California to Alaska, can now be seen when it takes flight on a new stamp beginning Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, the 86-cent Tufted Puffin stamp is good for mailing domestic First-Class letters weighing up to 3 ounces. The stamps can be purchased at usps.com/stamps and at U.S. Post Offices.

The stamp artwork features a painting of two tufted puffins by artist Robert Giusti of Bridgewater, CT, under the art direction of Derry Noyes of Washington, DC.

Both birds sport the striking tufts of long, yellow feathers that give the tufted puffin its name, plumage that only appears during breeding season.

Puffins, also known as sea parrots because of their large bills, are diving birds in the auk family. The tufted puffin is the largest of the three puffin species, standing roughly 15 inches tall.

Found on the open ocean, islands and coastal areas of the North Pacific, the tufted puffin’s true home is the sea, as it hunts underwater and spends most of its life far from land.

The birds have adapted to an unusually broad range of ocean habitats, raising their young anywhere from southern California to arctic Alaska. In the U.S., tufted puffins can be also found in Oregon and Washington.

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Rakesh Raman