Seabird and Restoration History: The island is home to the world's first restored seabird colony. The methods initiated here in 1973 have been replicated dozens of times worldwide to help endangered and threatened seabirds. Like many Maine coast seabird colonies, nesting seabird populations were diminished and eventually extirpated by a combination of egging, hunting for meat and feathers, and displacement by expanding Herring and Great Black-backed Gull populations that increased in response to fishing practices and municipal waste. Prior to recolonization, puffins last nested in 1885 and terns last nested in 1936. Gull management, the translocation of nearly 1,000 young puffins from Newfoundland, and social attraction (decoys and mirror boxes) were the primary tools for restoring puffins. In response to the puffin restoration, five pairs of puffins began nesting in 1981; by 2011, at least 123 pairs were nesting on the island. Tern restoration relied on gull management and social attraction (decoys and sound); the first terns nested in 1980 and today the colony supports more than 1,000 pairs.
Nesting and Migratory Birds: Breeding waterbirds include Arctic, Common and Roseate Terns, Laughing Gulls, Atlantic Puffins, Black Guillemots, Leach's Storm-petrels and Common Eiders. Razorbills and Manx Shearwater are often seen or heard at the island, suggesting these species may someday nest. Migrants are common at the beginning and end of the field season; 122 species (including breeding birds) have been recorded on the island since 2000, including notable records for Bridled Tern, Sabine's Gull, and Royal Tern.
Island Monitoring, Research and Management Projects: The Eastern Egg Rock field season begins in mid May and continues through mid August. The Island Supervisor is responsible for coordinating the timing of specific projects throughout the field season. Work includes, but is not limited to, the following projects: annual tern, eider, and laughing gull census; tern band resighting, chick provisioning, productivity and growth studies; puffin census, productivity, band resighting and provisioning studies; vegetation monitoring and management; predator management; and daily weather and bird lists.
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