Little Duck Island is the closest of the Duck Islands to Mount Desert Island and is located a ? mile north of Great Duck Island. The island is 90 acres in size and is characterized by overgrown fields, maritime spruce-fir forest, rock outcrops, and rock jumbles. Little Duck differs from many coastal islands because its remote nature deters immigration of terrestrial mammals that can decimate seabird colonies. The loose soil, protection of the forest, and proximity to the open ocean makes this island nearly ideal for nesting Leach?s Storm-petrel.
Little Duck represents the second largest Leach?s Storm-petrel colony on the east coast of the United States, second in size only to Great Duck. It also provides nesting habitat for Black Guillemots among the rock jumbles; gulls and Double-crested Cormorants atop the many rock out-crops as well as in small trees; and Common Eiders under the cover of trees, shrubs, and ferns. Additionally, the island likely provides a vital stopover area for neotropical migrants.
If future public access should increase, trail networks should be established to protect petrel burrows from collapsing. Both of the Duck Islands face a constant threat from an oil spill.
One of the first islands to come into conservation ownership on the coast of Maine, Little Duck is owned primarily by National Audubon. Acadia National Park also holds a conservation easement on a portion of the island. Access has not been granted to privately-owned portions of this island and access to lands in conservation ownership is difficult. Viewing from the water is recommended.