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Puffins and Terns: Restoring Maine’s Sea Bird Population on Eastern Egg Rock
November 26, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pmFree
Come and learn about our charismatic puffin friends who inhabit Maine islands and waters. Hear about the forces, avian and human, which have affected their populations over the years, and what has been accomplished to increase the colony on Eastern Egg Rock. A slide show with pictures is included.
Susie Meadows, manager of The Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, will discuss some of the impacts on Maine puffin populations and how techniques, developed by Project Puffin, have led to the restoration of puffins and terns to historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine.
Although seabird nesting islands seem safe due to their remoteness, they are intimately connected to human activities. Maine seabird nesting islands have been affected by large populations of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls that benefit from garbage and fisheries waste practices hundreds of miles from nesting islands. As these birds increased in numbers, they deter smaller, migratory seabirds, such as puffins and terns, from nesting on many of their historic nesting islands. In addition, in earlier decades, excessive hunting for food and feathers devastated sea bird colonies.
Did you know…? (Facts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
- Puffins are social birds and nest in colonies.
- Puffins nest in a hole or burrow, raising one egg in one brood and sharing parenting responsibilities.
- Puffin chicks are known as ‘pufflings’.
- Puffins breed from late April to August, coming ashore to nest on islands. The rest of the year they’re far out to sea.
- Puffins have backward-pointed spines on the roof of their mouth and tongue help keep fish in place, carried cross-wise.
- Puffins “fly” underwater using their wings for propulsion and their feet as a rudder.