News from the Seabird Islands

Now in it's 37th year, Project Puffin concludes another successful nesting season rebuilding Maine populations of Atlantic Puffin, Arctic Terns, Razorbills and other seabirds.

Our field season has just ended and all of the interns are back on the mainland from our seven field stations. The terns have mostly left Maine for the long migration to the southern hemisphere. The puffins will also head off to their still unknown winter home and our interns will return to their academic lives or take on other steps toward professions in conservation biology.

The season was characterized by many dry and warmer than usual days which favored the growth of terns and other seabird chicks. Food was abundant at our more southern islands, but was limited on the offshore islands. In contrast to last year, herring- an important staple in the seabird diet was largely absent and the lack of quality food compromised the breeding season for terns, especially at Matinicus Rock and Seal Island NWR. In contrast, the terns at Pond Island NWR, Outer Green and Jenny Island thrived on a more varied than usual diet.

Puffins had an exceptionally good year, with the number of nesting pairs increasing at Eastern Egg Rock and Seal Island NWR to record numbers. However, their food supply was also limited resulting in slower than usual development of young.

Project Puffin interns shared the highlights of their summer at the 26th annual meeting of the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group held on Hog Island on August 12th.

For more details on the Project Puffin field season visit the full Seabird Island News page.