These three islands are part of an archipelago on the Maine/New Hampshire border. The Isles were a favorite stop for fisherman prior to colonial times. Celia Thaxter, island poet, made the islands famous in her many writings. Appledore Island is home to Shoals Marine Laboratory which offers experiential education in an offshore setting. This is an important seabird island complex, in part because it abuts a long stretch of water with few islands to the south.

Ornithological Summary

Appledore supports Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night-herons, and gulls, as well as a sizeable colony of Snowy Egrets. Appledore has long been the site of an extensive songbird banding program. Duck Island is home to a large colony of Double-crested Cormorants. Smuttynose is best known for its Herring and Great Black-backed Gull colony.

Conservation Issues

Raccoon predation has been a problem. Disturbance is inevitable on Appledore with so many buildings and human inhabitants. However, staff of Shoals Marine Lab are sensitive to the needs of seabirds nesting on this island where they also live and work.


The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns Duck Island and recently acquired an easement on Smuttynose. Appledore is owned by Cornell University. All are zoned Significant Wildlife Habitat under NRPA. For more information regarding Duck or Smuttynose, contact the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in Rockport, Maine. Visit for information on Appledore Island. Smuttynose is closed to human activity during the seabird nesting season (April 1 ? July 31). Duck Island is closed at all time due to unexploded ordinances on the island.

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