CANNON BEACH, Ore. (AP) -- The tufted puffins population at Haystack Rock in Oregon's Cannon Beach is steadily declining and no one knows why.
The Daily Astorian reports federal wildlife officials will study the low count of the seabird with a $15,000 donation from the Friends of Haystack Rock.
The money will purchase five transmitters, which will be attached to puffins and track where exactly the seabirds go in the winter. Researchers also plan to take blood and fecal samples, which will be used to analyze what the birds eat and whether the Haystack Rock birds are genetically unique from other tufted puffins.
The tufted puffins species has steadily declined on the Oregon Coast from about 5,000 birds nesting 20 years ago to just a few hundred today.
The puffin population on Haystack Rock has dropped from 368 in 2010 to just over 100 today.