Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

June 2017

Vol. 45, No. 3

The History, Birds, Research, and Conservation Efforts on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge

Keenan Yakola


Keenan handles an Atlantic Puffin that has just received both a Field Readable and USGS Bird Banding Laboratory band before it was weighed, measured, and released. This individual can now be identified and monitored in the field by biologists. Photograph by Isabel Brofsky.

A Three-Hour Tour

Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge (SINWR) lies at the outer edge of Penobscot Bay, about 20 miles from Rockland, Maine and six miles from the closest civilization on Matinicus Island. Getting out to this seabird haven is no easy task. Interns, volunteers, and biologists with the National Audubon Seabird Restoration Program, also known as Project Puffin, must first board the Rockland-Vinalhaven ferry for an hour-long journey. When the boat reaches the quiet, small harbor in Vinalhaven, John Drury—son of the late ornithologist Bill Drury—greets you with his boat, fittingly named the Skua. After departing the harbor, John weaves the Skua through the small rocky islands that scatter the eastern coast of Vinalhaven Island. Many of them, including Little Roberts Island, are inhabited by gulls and cormorants and give you a sneak peak of what is to come.

To view the rest of the article you'll need to subscribe. Bird Observer publishes original articles on birding locations, on avian populations and natural history, on regional rarities, and field notes, Massachusetts field records, photographs, and art work.