Franklin Island is a 12-acre island with small stands of red spruce and abundant open habitat dominated by raspberry, grasses, and forbs. The third lighthouse in Maine was constructed on the island in 1808.
Franklin Island once supported the largest nesting population of Common Eiders in Maine. Unfortunately, avian cholera virtually eliminated the population in the 1980s. Common Eiders still breed here (over 300 pairs in 2003) together with Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, Leach?s Storm-petrels, Black Guillemots and Ospreys. In winter, this site provides foraging and roosting habitat for Purple Sandpipers.
Human disturbance and mammalian predation are the greatest threat to this site. Risks from oil spill and other discharge from boats are constant threats as well.
The site is owned by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which took ownership from the U. S. Coast Guard in 1973. The island is closed to public access during the seabird nesting season (April 1 ? July 31).