The location of the refuge and its island habitat has attracted researchers interested in waterbird population dynamics. The islands have served as research sites for the Service and colleagues for many years. These islands offer rare opportunities to study the changes that are occurring on the landscape in the absence of human disturbance. Research studies conducted on refuge islands aim to address aspects of waterbird conservation across the Great Lakes region. Recent studies focus on double-crested cormorants. Researchers are gathering data to learn more about the growth of populations of double-crested cormorants and to evaluate the effects of cormorant control programs, while also working to develop habitat monitoring protocols.
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Caspian terns are the world’s largest terns. Adult birds have black legs, white head with black cap, thick reddish-orange bill with black tip and grey wings.