Seabird and Restoration History: The mouth of the Kennebec River has traditionally been an important tern nesting area in Maine; however, by 1987 no terns were nesting in this region of the coast. Tern restoration on Pond Island NWR began in 1996, with a gull management and social attraction program, and terns nested that year for the first time since 1937. Tern numbers peaked in 2012 with 597 pairs. Significant annual predation by Great Horned Owls has hampered recovery efforts as the owls cause the terns to abandon their chicks at night, increasing mortality. The annual success of the colony is directly related to success in managing owls. In most years, there is abundant forage fish.
Island Living and Accommodations: During the field season 2 people work on the island at a time, and, with the exception of the supervisor, staff or volunteers remain on the island for an average of 1-2 weeks. A 10' x12' canvas expedition tent and covered wooden kitchen shelter serve as the base camp and accommodate food storage and research equipment. The "kitchen" is equipped with a propane stove. There are two tent platforms for personal tents and a composting toilet. A solar electrical system powers research needs.
Island Monitoring, Research and Management Projects: The Pond Island NWR field season usually begins in late May and continues through late July. 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 and eider census; tern productivity, chick growth, and provisioning studies; daily weather and bird lists; and predator management. Public interaction may include restricting visitor access to nesting areas.
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