Seabird Restoration

August 23, 2018

I can see why many people flock to the Maine coast for the warmest months of summer.  It’s quite comfortable, even cool compared to my home on the southern North Carolina coast. But escaping heat and humidity was not the reason for my trip.  I went to visit with my good friend Dr. Steve Kress who runs National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program.

As part of the trip, I wanted to see the famed Maine coast island where, in the 1970s, Dr. Kress launched a project to restore Atlantic Puffins to their former breeding grounds in Maine and pioneered seabird restoration techniques that are now used around the world. Social attraction involves using decoys and sound recordings of the bird vocalizations to lure the seabirds back to a place where habitat has been restored.   Dr. Kress also transplanted puffin chicks from nesting sites Newfoundland and raised them in burrows with the hopes they would return as breeding adults.

It worked. Atlantic Puffins have been restored on several islands along the coast of Maine. Today the Maine coast has about 1,000 breeding pairs of puffins. He also restored Common, Roseate and Arctic terns, and had the first ever Razorbill nest.

 


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