MONTREAL - Downtown Montreal hosted an unusual tourist last Thursday in the form of an Atlantic puffin which had likely hitched a ride on a ship that travelled from Newfoundland.

The bird was transferred to Le Nichoir veterinary clinic in Hudson west of Montreal where it is being kept until it can be returned to more suitable stomping grounds in Atlantic Canada.

Susan Wiley, who is taking care of the black, white and orange aquatic bird, said that the creature is in good shape and lucky to be alive.

Wylie said an observant veterinary technician rescued the bird from a bustling downtown boulevard.

"He was running in the street," Wylie said in an interview Tuesday.

"Luckily, she knew what type of bird it was and grabbed him. And they don't run very quickly because they're diving birds."

The Atlantic puffin is the beloved, official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador -- which is home to nearly all Canadian puffin breeding grounds.

It is a pelagic bird and can only fly on water, which made it unable to take flight on the streets of Montreal.

Wylie is attempting to have it delivered to a man in Newfoundland who specializes in rehabilitating puffins in trouble, until it can be released back into the wild.

In the meantime, Wylie said the puffin will continue to bunk in a bathtub at a volunteer's home outside Montreal, where the bird has been munching on two daily meals of cut smelts.

The bird, which is about the size of three fists, is less than a year old and it's unclear whether it's male or female, she said.

With a file from The Canadian Press