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2015 a Good Year for the Seabirds in the Gulf of Maine
Northeast Region, October 5, 2015
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Arctic tern on nest
Arctic tern on nest - Photo Credit: USFWS photo by Zack Pohlen

Every year, the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge and its partners in the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group have a meeting at the end of the field season to review the field season statistics for each seabird colony. This year, the birds had a great season. The weather and predators were not too bad, and there seemed to be plenty of sand lance, herring, hake and pollock. Increased numbers of nests in many places probably were a result of last year’s successful season (a relief after some very bad years in 2012 and 2013). Many colonies experienced increases in productivity over last year: roseate terns on Stratton Island; common terns on Pond Island; and common and Arctic terns on Matinicus Rock and Seal Island. Especially of note was the increase of tern nests on Ship Island from 405 last year to 680 this year, and the productivity at Petit Manan Island for commons and Arctics was the highest in the past 13 years.
At Matinicus Rock, the researchers observed common murres carrying fish and suspect there may have been two nests (which has not happened here successfully since the birds were originally extirpated) (there were 80 murres counted). In addition, the handful of Manx shearwaters raised 2 chicks successfully. Laughing gulls on this island, which have had little success here in past years due to our efforts to reduce their burgeoning populations to a manageable number, gave up and went elsewhere.
At Petit Manan Island, there were 74 puffin nests, 5 razorbill nests and 30 murres, who were seen copulating but no nests were found. The razorbills and puffins have been spending more time ashore on Eastern Brothers, and we had no mink there this year, so we are crossing our fingers that they will decide to nest there next year.


Contact Info: Beth Goettel, 207-594-0600, beth_goettel@fws.gov



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