ENVIRONMENT
07/23/2010 03:03 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Skomer Island: Puffin Breeding Season (PHOTOS)

Puffins are a group of four different species in the Auk family of seabirds, often recognized for their large, colorful beaks. They dive in the water to feed, and nest in burrows between rock crevices or dug into the soil.

Puffins have a special technique to swim underwater -- their wings move similar to when flying and their feet act as a rudder. In the air, puffins can fly up to 55mph, their wings beating 400 times in a single minute.

The Skomer Island National Nature Preserve is home to Southern Britain's largest Puffin colony. In 2009, over 13,000 of the birds came to the island for their breeding season, which lasts from April through August.

This time of year, many people travel to the island to witness not only the puffins, but the variety of other birds and marine life the area is known for. Check out some incredible pictures of the puffins below, photographed by Matt Cardy of Getty Images.

PHOTO GALLERY
Puffins