Ship Island (11 acres), Trumpet Island (3 acres) and nearby East and West Barge Ledges (1 acre combined) lie in the heart of Blue Hill Bay. These small treeless islands have been sites for seabird restoration efforts over the past decade.
Site of a Common Tern restoration project, Ship Island once supported Common Eiders and Herring Gulls. Eiders and gulls largely avoided the site while conservation interns were present on the island. The smaller Trumpet Island and East and West Barge Ledges provide nesting habitat for Double-crested Cormorants, Great Black-backed Gulls, and Herring Gulls.
Ship Island is fully in conservation ownership. Despite this fact, efforts to restore terns have failed because of predation. The high count for nesting Common Terns was 558 pairs in 1999. At present, tern restoration efforts at this site have been discontinued. Human disturbance linked to the recreational use of small watercraft is a known and possibly growing threat, and could limit natural colonization or use by terns or other birds.
The site is currently owned by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The islands are closed to public access during the seabird nesting season (April 1 ? July 31).