About Us

Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of six islands (Cross, Scotch, Outer Double Head Shot, Inner Double Head Shot, Mink, Old Man Islands) encompassing 1,700 acres in Cutler. The six offshore islands are 10 miles southeast of Machias in Machias Bay. Cross, Mink, and Scotch Islands are covered predominantly by spruce-fir forest and support a variety of small mammals and songbirds, white-tailed deer, and osprey.

Bald Eagle banded

Bald eagles currently nest on Cross, Mink and Outer Double Head Shot Islands. A large saltmarsh is located on the western end of Cross Island. During the fall, thousands of waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors pass through on their southward migration. The northern half of both Double Head Shot islands is dominated by spruce-fir forest, while the southern end of the islands are predominantly covered by grasses and shrubs. A variety of seabirds nest on both the islands. Old Man Island is one of only six nesting sites for razorbills in the United States and four of them are part of the Refuge. Vegetation on the island is sparse, with rock outcroppings, steep cliffs, and sea stacks dominating the island.

Any islands supporting nesting eagles are closed to public access from February 15 to August 31.

Seabird nesting islands supporting nesting terns, alcids, Leach’s storm-petrel, or great cormorants are closed to public access during the seabird nesting season: April 1 to August 31. Islands supporting nesting gulls and common eiders are closed to public use from April 1 to July 31. Refuge staff monitor island resources and conduct biological surveys of the island’s flora and fauna.