Seabird Island News - Vol. 1 - 01 May 2024

Seabird Island News Banner - Volume 01

The returning seabirds tell us it’s time for the return of the Seabird Island News. Read on to learn what we’ve been up to since August!

Fond Farewells and Fresh Faces

Members of the Seabird Institute staff and Friends of Hog Island
Members of the Seabird Institute staff and Friends of Hog Island gathered for a farewell sendoff, complete with Puffin Decoy! Left to right: (Back row) Adrian Bregy, Sue Schubel, Paula Shannon, Kimberly Faux, Susie Meadows. (Front row) Nancy Dickinson, Juanita Roushdy, Adam DiNuovo, Tom Leckey, JB Smith, Eva Lark, Eric Snyder.

In November, we said “see you soon” to Eva Lark, who most recently served as the Senior Manager for Public Programs. Eva became the Hog Island Audubon Camp Program Manager in 2014 and became a driving force for growth at the camp. Under her leadership, engaging new programming was introduced and our partnerships expanded to provide more scholarships and instructor positions to members of historically marginalized communities. Eva will return as the Costa Rica Teen Camp Director during the 2024 season.

We’ve welcomed two new team members this winter. Katherine Luscher came aboard as Senior Coordinator, Tufted Puffins. Working with conservation partners in the Pacific Northwest, Katherine coordinates Tufted Puffin conservation efforts across the region. You can read more about her recent efforts here. Most recently, Rosy Tucker joined the flock as Manager of Public Programs. Rosy has served as faculty during Hog Island’s Family Camp for years and is well equipped to lead Hog Island programs to continued growth. Stay tuned for an update on our search for the program’s Center Director soon!

The Power of Poseidon

Egg Rock Hilton Damage
Previously nestled against the ledge seen on the left, the Egg Rock Hilton was moved about 10 feet to the west. The damaged structure is now suspended on old blind parts beneath it. Photo: Sue Schubel

Back-to-back strong storms and record-breaking tides wreaked havoc along Maine’s coast in January. Calm weather in recent weeks has allowed access to the islands. Marine debris and minor damage is always anticipated upon returning to the islands in the spring, but this year tent platforms and components for bird blinds were moved across the islands or washed away completely. On a positive note, huge hunks of sod were ripped back from the earth, creating good-looking new tern habitat. The biggest shock, however, was seeing the Egg Rock “Hilton” moved about 10 feet from its perch of more than 40 years! We’ll share an update next week on the concept for a refurbished structure.

Honoring Our Founder

Steve Kress and Nominators - PSG Award 2024
Steve Kress with some members of the group who nominated him for the Pacific Seabird Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Carlos Zavalaga, Richard Golightly, Rachel Sprague, Kim Nelson, Susan Schubel, Jennifer Boyce, Simba Chan, Steve, Gerry McChesney, Mike Parker, and Don Lyons. Photo: Jennifer Boyce

Steve Kress was presented with the Pacific Seabird Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the group’s annual meeting in February. He gave a plenary address focused on ‘hopeful predictions for seabird conservation in the next 50 years’ after being introduced and presented with the award by the Pacific Seabird Group’s awards chair, Rachel Sprague, and our own Don Lyons. Puffineers, past and present, were there to celebrate the occasion.

Expanding our Efforts Across the Equator

In February, Don Lyons, and Audubon/Oregon State University Ph.D. Student, Keenan Yakola, were invited to an important wintering area for federally endangered Roseate Terns in Brazil. The purpose of the trip was to take the success we had tagging Roseate Terns with GPS quality tags last summer in Maine and use this methodology to support the information needs of partners in the region. More broadly, we hope to promote full life-cycle conservation for this species at risk and build greater capacity for seabird conservation in Latin America. The environmental stressors faced in these wintering grounds, including onshore wind development, offshore oil and gas development, and planned offshore wind development, among others, are complex. During the trip, the team was able to tag 15 birds, whose tracking data will be important for our Brazilian partners as they inform new development ventures.

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