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Puffins



Puffins
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.72

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    raspy, palate, mating, rhinoceros, breed, species, abandon, waterproof, fliers, homebuilders, mid-August, puffin, underwater, lies, hatches, paddle


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Puffins   

1     Puffins are small sea birds that look like they are wearing a tuxedo! About the size of a pigeon, a puffin has black feathers covering most of its body except for its white, round belly. What makes puffins so cute and adorable is their colorful beak. Puffins live on the open ocean for most of their lives. They only return to land once a year to breed. There are four types of puffins, but the Atlantic puffin is the most famous member in the puffin family! The Atlantic puffin is the only species of puffins found on the Atlantic coast. The other species of puffins - horned puffin, tufted puffin, and rhinoceros auklet - have the Pacific as their territory!
 
2     Puffins are excellent athletes. They can fly 48 to 55 miles per hour, and they can flap their wings at a speed of 400 times a minute! When they fly, they move so fast that they look like a black and white football shooting across the sky! Not only are puffins great fliers, but they also excel in diving. Most puffins can dive for about 30 seconds. While underwater, puffins swim by beating their wings to push them along under the water, as if they are flying, and using their webbed feet as rudders for steering. Puffins are known to swim to a depth of more than 100 feet in search of fish to eat.
 
3     When puffins catch fish, they do not just carry one fish at a time. On average, puffins catch and hold about 10 fish in their beak per trip. The record load is 62! How do they do it? The secret lies in their tongue! Puffins use their raspy tongue to push the fish against spines on the palate while they open their beak to catch more fish. Each time another fish is caught, the tongue pushes and holds it up with the others.

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Animal Themes
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Polar Regions
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Animals
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