It's a New Day

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.

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Our mission: to support and promote the observation, understanding, and conservation of the wild birds of New England.