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Every five years, National Trust rangers carry out a puffin census on the Farne Islands, off the northeast coast of England. The beautiful birds return to their breeding grounds on the islands, which offer excellent sources of food, few ground predators, and good protection for nesting. This count carries particular significance because the last survey in 2008, recording 36,500 pairs, indicated that numbers had fallen by a third from the 2003 census. There is also fear that the extreme weather in the past year could affect the numbers. In March, thousands of birds washed up dead due to severely cold winds, and last summer, many of the birds were flooded out of their homes. Rangers are now faced with the daunting task of counting every burrow-nesting bird, which involves reaching down to each of the underground nests to see if it is occupied. The results will be ready in July. -Leanne Burden Seidel (15 photos total)

Puffins return to their summer breeding grounds on the Farne Islands in Northeast England on May 16, 2013. They are often called “sea parrots” due to their colorful beaks. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)