Seabird Island News - Vol. 6 - 01 July 2022

Seal Island Rainbow
A massive double rainbow enthralled researchers on Seal Island NWR. Photo: Seal Island.


Researcher with Outer Green Island Guillemot Chick
It's guillemot grubbing season! Photo: Outer Green Island.

Matinicus Rock was lacking guillemot chicks on International Guillemot Appreciation Day (June 27th), but the team on Seal Island NWR was thrilled their first guillie chicks made an appearance just in time to celebrate. Outer Green Island researchers began grubbing guillemots and discovered a burrow with a “secret hatch” making for easy access. Ravens have been predating a variety of alcids on Matinicus Rock, with the team finding evidence of puffins, Razorbills, guillemots and other birds.


Four chunky Pond Island Common Tern Chicks
This clutch of four chunky Common Tern chicks found near the Pond Island camp are off to a great start in life. Photo: Pond Island

Tern chicks are getting chunkier by the day across the colonies. One Stratton Island researcher is convinced the Roseate Tern chicks are nothing but reconstituted sandlance these days. A Seal Island team member even saw a tern bring in two herring in the same delivery for its chicks – maybe it had been watching the puffins? In one feeding study on Jenny Island, the same fish was stolen from chicks in three adjacent nests before being snatched up and flown off by a random adult. One thing is clear, the tern aggression isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

In an unfortunate update, Common and Artic Terns taken from Pond Island NWR have tested positive for avian flu, confirming earlier concerns. Our island teams are closely monitoring for other warning signs. In one area of concern on Pond Island, known as Rosey Meadow, many adults seem to poop a very red and runny feces. For more on avian flu in seabirds, check out this recent article from Audubon Magazine.

Sick Great Black-backed Gull on Pond Island
A sick Great Black-Backed Gull was isolated from the colony after being found by Pond Island researchers. The bird's condition has slowly improved throughout the week. Photo: Pond Island

Other Birds

  • Matinicus Rock had some exciting Leach’s Storm Petrel finds this week, including a bird banded as an adult in 2002 and a bird banded as a chick in 2006 by Seabird Sanctuary Manager, Paula Shannon.
  • Seal Island NWR had a myriad of vagrants visit, include a Yellow Warbler, bushels of Dowitchers and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.
  • A Great Egret gracefully soared past Outer Green Island.
2018's Puffling Grace Returns to the Loafing Ledge
Grace, 2018’s puffling, was seen on the loafing ledge cam on June 29th. Photo:

Willie and Millie are proud parents once more! Flo, the new on-cam puffling, hatched on June 25th. Here you can enjoy a video recorded shortly after her hatching. One of the two eggs in the guillemot burrow has entered the pipping stage! Viewers look forward to greeting the guillemot chicks any day now! Tune into a weekly livestream on National Audubon Society’s Facebook page every Saturday from 4PM-5PM to learn more about Audubon’s different cams.

Bird Word of the Week
EER Team Celebrates International Guillemot Appreciation Day
The Eastern Egg Rock team, along with their kinetic sculpture "Millie the Guillie," fly the Black Guillemot flag atop the Egg Rock Hilton to celebrate International Guillemot Appreciation Day. Photo: Eastern Egg Rock Island

Island Life

It has been a holiday-filled week! “Island Christmas,” on June 25th, is celebrated by teams making and exchanging gifts between the islands. The Seal Island team even made bird themed gingerbread cookies to capture the festive spirit. On International Guillemot Appreciation Day (IGAD), teams were challenged to create kinetic sculptures that captured the spirit of IGAD. Our Islanders came up with some very creative sculptures, but the filmed production of “Dawn of Guilletar” by the Stratton Island crew may have taken the cake.

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