Seabird Island News - Vol. 2 - 08 May 2024

Seabird Island News Banner - Volume 02
Seal Island crew for 2024
The intrepid crew off to open Seal Island NWR for the 2024 Season. Photo: Sue Schubel

We're Open!

Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most remote islands where the Seabird Institute conducts its work and home to the seabird cams, officially opened on Sunday. Prior to departing the mainland, research staff practiced their carpentry skills before repairing blinds and tent platforms on the islands. New and returning research staff continue to arrive at the Todd Wildlife Sanctuary. Tune in next week to find out what our staff learns during orientation to prepare for their summer on the island.

Toppled Seal Island transmission tower
The Seal Island transmission tower, knocked down from its stand during a mid-winter storm. Photo: Sue Schubel

The seabird live cams are currently offline due to the extensive January storm damage. The devastating winter storms knocked the transmission tower down, cutting off all live service to and from the island. A team from is headed to Seal soon and will stay until repairs are made, with possibility of a Starlink setup to reconnect the island. We hope to have the cams up and running very soon!

Despite these setbacks for our livestreaming, we’ve received word from teams visiting the islands that puffins have been returning and some may already be nesting! To view past highlights or check if the camera feeds are back online, head over to the seabird cams and join the community: Puffin Burrow Cam, Puffin Burrow (Exterior), Puffin Loafing Ledge, Puffin Boulder Berm, Guillemot Burrow.

EER "Hilton" and contents
Who knew “The Hilton” could harbor so much stuff!? Photo: Sue Schubel

The Great Egg Rock "Hilton" Renovation of 2024

Renovation of the Egg Rock research station, lovingly dubbed "The Hilton," has begun. A tent was erected over the weekend to serve as temporary storage for equipment that is held in the structure during the winter. Key features of the historic structure, including its covered front porch and shallowly sloping roof, will remain intact. Placement of door and the interior layout will likely be modified to better utilize space throughout the structure.

Common Tern delivering Atlantic Herring to its chick
A Common Tern delivering Atlantic Herring to its chick in a recent year. Photo: Derrick Z. Jackson

Across the Network

Heroes for Herring

Last month, Director of Conservation Science, Donald Lyons, and Marine Conservation Policy Manager, Romaric Moncrieffe, addressed the New England Fisheries Management Council to advocate for better management of the forage fish seabirds need. Atlantic Herring have historically been the most important forage species for seabirds nesting and feeding along Maine’s coast. Riving herring species, like alewives, are also important prey for seabirds and other coastal waterbirds. Forage fish protections are vital measures that can have big impacts for birds. Read more about some current issues here.

Finding Friendship and Connection in Mid-Coast Maine

Around the world and including Canada’s Boreal Forest Region, Indigenous governments and communities are reaffirming the ancient human land stewardship ethic. Support of the Land Needs Guardians campaign has increased the number of Indigenous Guardians that now care for lands and waters across Canada. In this recently published blog, Chaz Collier, a Land Guardian for the Seal River Watershed Alliance, recounts how he found birding and friendship at Hog Island Audubon Camp last summer.

To learn more about the Guardians program, watch this exciting video.

For additional news, please visit the Seabird Island News index page.

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