Wildlife & Habitat

Razorbill landing among puffins - Rosie Walunas/USFWS.

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge consists of four mainland divisions (4,415 acres) and 73 islands (5,063 acres). The refuge islands span over 250 miles of the Maine coast and support a tremendous diversity of wildlife. The majority of the islands within the refuge are considered nationally significant nesting islands, and support endangered and threatened species, colonial nesting seabirds, wading birds, and waterfowl. Habitat characteristics vary considerably among the islands. While some islands provide dense stands of red spruce and balsam fir for nesting bald eagles and wading birds, other islands provide great expanses of mixed grasses and raspberries which support nesting terns, common eiders, and a number of neotropical migrants. The rocky ledges surrounding the islands provide nesting habitat for Atlantic puffins, razorbills, common murres and black guillemots. The inter-tidal areas surrounding the islands and mainland properties provide an abundance of invertebrates for migratory and wintering waterfowl and shorebirds. The diversity of upland habitats and the extensive inter-tidal habitats combine to provide foraging, breeding, and migratory habitat for over 320 species of birds.

Six of the islands within Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge currently support seabird restoration projects. The primary focus of these projects is to re-establish breeding populations of common, Arctic, and roseate terns, Atlantic puffins, and razorbills on historic nesting islands. The combined efforts of the Refuge and our conservation partners have proven highly successful, and all five species have experienced significant population growth as a result of our efforts.

The four mainland units are located in the Towns of Corea, Gouldsboro, Steuben, and Milbridge, Maine, and also provide a diversity of habitat for a wide variety of species. The majority of habitat on all four parcels is dominated by mature forest, but the refuge also protects several saltmarshes, a diverse mix of freshwater wetlands, and several grassland and blueberry fields. The freshwater wetlands on Petit Manan Point are used by thousands of migratory waterfowl during the fall months.

The Petit Manan Point Division has two established trails, and offers exceptional views of the bold, rocky shoreline and adjacent bays. Additional trails are available at the Corea and Gouldsboro properties. The seabird nesting islands within Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge are generally open during daylight hours from September 1 through March 31, and closed to public use during the seabird nesting season: April 1 to August 31. For more information, contact the refuge manager at (207) 594-0600 ex.2.