Seabird Island News - Vol. 10 - 29 July 2022

Egg Rock Crew Sunrise
After a night sleeping under the stars, the Egg Rock team enjoys the sunrise atop the Egg Rock Hilton. Photo: Derrick Z. Jackson.


Matinicus Rock Razorbills are departing the island in earnest as the end of the season draws near. On Outer Green Island, the team discovered their first Black Guillemot of the season has fledged its burrow. The team on Seal Island continue to discover new puffin burrows and the island now boasts over 900 marked burrows. Meanwhile, Eastern Egg Rock researchers are trying to beat the record of grubbing 22 pufflings. They’re well on their way with 17!


On Jenny Island, chicks that have not yet fledged have lower weights as feedings rates have slowed abruptly. The Matinicus Rock team discovered the first two birds exhibiting Avian Flu symptoms on the island. With the end of the nesting season in view, teams are sad the little chicks aren’t waiting for them in their study plots, but thrilled to see fledgers flying overhead. As the team on Eastern Egg Rock put it: “Congrats to the 2022 flight class of tern fledglings!”

Bird Word of the Week

Other Birds

  • Short-billed Dowitchers have been spotted hanging around the Pond Island NWR beach.
  • Using a spotting scope, the Outer Green Island team found two Bonaparte’s Gulls, three Ruddy Turnstones, and a Great Black-Backed Gull fledgling on the neighboring island, Junk of Pork.
  • Seeing an uptick in shorebirds visiting the island, Jenny Island researchers believe they’re beginning to see the early signs of shorebird migration.
  • It’s storm-petrel banding season! The Matinicus Rock crew processed nearly 60 new (not previously banded) birds, along with recapturing a handful of already banded birds, while the team on Seal Island banded over 100 new ‘stormies’!
Seal Island Explore Cam chicks Pax and Flo's on-cam chicks on their banding days: Pax, the guillie, is on the left. Flo, the puffling, is on the right. Photo: Seal Island NWR.

This week, researchers grubbed and banded both the guillie chick and puffling, Pax and Flo respectively, who are doing great in their burrows. Flo has just reached the age of 35 days. Pufflings typically fledge from their burrows between 38-44 days after hatching, so we are definitely on fledge watch!

Seal Island Researcher Exhaustion
Grubbing can be an exhausting job. Thankfully, Seal Island has an abundance of boulders for researchers to take a break. Photo: Seal Island NWR.

Island Life

As blind stints end, researchers are spending more time entering and proofing data. A welcome task when trying to hide from the sky-fire that’s causing above 90-degree temperatures. The team on Outer Green Island had a week of kitchen disasters that began when the wind knocked over a full container of olive oil. The crew later discovered their watermelon had gone bad after it began leaking and dripping all over their other food. Just a few more weeks, team, hang in there!

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