Icelanders help baby puffins take flight and start their migration - by throwing them off a cliff

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Footage show Icelanders helping help baby puffins take flight and start migration - by throwing them off a cliff. The practice takes place every year at the end of summer in the Westman Islands, an archipelago off Iceland’s south coast. Puffins only occupy the islands in the summer and migrate out to sea in August and September following the moon. The new hatchlings drop from their burrows on cliffs to kick-start their flight but lights from the archipelago's main town Vestmannaeyjabær confuse the birds. The baby puffins - which are called pufflings - crash into town and are unable to take flight again. As a results, villagers go out at night on "puffling patrol". They collect the baby birds in boxes before tossing them back off the cliffs, allowing them to take flight and migrate correctly. Kyana Powers, 30, moved to the capital Reykjavik in 2018 and takes part in the practice every year. She said: "The instinct of the puffins is to fly out to sea, but the lights of the town confuse them. "They crash into the ground like little airplanes and just walk around. They don't even know they're somewhere they aren't supposed to be. "The townspeople collect them in boxes and throw them off the cliff so that they can take flight again." There is no official count of how many puffins are rescued, but there is a website on which users can register rescued birds, which counts 2952 hatchlings this year. The event is not organised by the government or wildlife charity, rather, it's just an informal local tradition. Kyana, who owns a media production company and promotes tourism in Iceland, explained: "It's an old tradition. There is no organisation planning it. "Everyone just goes out as a community and does what they can." Locals treat it almost like a holiday, and it is considered a fun, family event as well as something done for conservation. Kyana, who is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, was very confused when she first saw the tradition taking place. She said: "I was walking around and had no idea what was going on. There were tons of people on the streets. It looked like Halloween. "People would suddenly run into alleys or start fussing with something in the corner." Once Kyana understood, she quickly fell in love with the unique practice. She added: "I love it, it gets the whole community involved, the kids are out helping and their parents also take part."