British ornithologist Jamie Dunning's random action has led to an important and amazing discovery about puffins. It has come to light that puffin beaks are fluorescent which glow like the toy sticks in complete dark! Dunning usually studies the Twites birds but just once he happened to put an ultraviolet light on a puffin carcass and was amazed to watch its beak light up with a glow. He was naturally very impressed to see nature's another astonishment unfold in front of him.
"It was sort of discovered by accident," he said. "Something about those parts of the puffin bill is allowing that UV light to be absorbed and re-emitted as a bright glowing light." A puffin's beak has two yellow ridges which are called the cere and the lamella. These parts were emitting fluorescence and it was quite vibrant. While it sounds and looks fancy to us, it is hard to guess what it would be like for the birds said, Dunning.
See the fluorescent beaks of Puffin:
'[birds have] additional color cones in their retina that are sensitive to ultraviolet range.'
I exposed some of my specimens to UV light.
— Jamie (@JamieDunning) February 8, 2018
He is trying to study what use it would be to the birds. "It's hard to say what it would look like [to them], we can't comprehend that colour space. But almost certainly it's attractive to the birds. They must be able to see it — that's the only reason it would exist," he said to CBC. The finding has led him to discover more about them and the ornithologist has come up with special sunglasses to observe it too. The fluorescence has been seen on the carcass in his labs and to see it on the birds out there, he has made the sunglasses.
Check out the special sunglasses made for Puffins:
To study the ultraviolet properties of the puffins bill, we have had to design something to protect their eyes from the light.
— Jamie (@JamieDunning) March 29, 2018
So in further research when these puffins are caught for tagging, they would be shone with the UV light and see if the beaks do light up again. Although the exact cause of the phenomenon is not known, he has made an obvious assumption as the feature would help the birds to attract their mates. But Dunning will learn more about them and write about the glowing beaks in a research paper. Let us wait till we find out more of this amazing creation of nature.