A return to Seal Island

Welcome to Project Puffin’s own Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge! Located 23 miles off the coast of Maine, I’ll be spending my summer here with four fellow seabird field researchers, living among the birds.FullSizeRender

We arrived via John Drury’s lobstah boat-turned-biological vessel. Drury has transported us “puffineers” out to sea for many, many years. This will be my third summer out on the
islands, having first come out in 2003 as a wide-eyed bird lover who wanted to save the world. Gotta start somewhere, right?

For the next three months I will be working with supervisors Isabel, Keenan, intern Nick and a rotation of 2-week volunteers monitoring nesting populations of puffins, terns, razorbills and black guillemots. We live out of our tents, set on wooden platforms with a 12×12 cabin with a kitchen and “office” (desk) for data entry. Every day will be spent monitoring the birds from 3’x3’x5′ wooden blinds and conducting tern chick and alcid (puffins, guillys and razorbill) burrow checks to monitor nesting progress and success.  We’ll be recording birds that we’ve banded and resighted (re-read the metal leg band numbers) using scopes and binoculars and, when the chicks arrive, we’ll band, weigh and measure them too. Birds that we’ve resighted get entered into the project’s seabird database and from that we can learn who first banded that individual and where. It’s pretty neat, I resighted a bird the other day that I resighted back in 2003! Now I really want to resight one that I banded way back when!

So this will be somewhat of a journal about life on the island. I’d love you all to follow along as I follow these birds a most exciting stage of their life, the breeding season never ceases to inspire awe and wonder. Plus you’ll get to see plenty of chick pics!

Thanks for stopping by,


About Stacey M. Hollis

Tropical guide and naturalist at Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge on Isla Bastimentos set within Panama's Caribbean Bocas del Toro archipelago. My aim is to share my passion for birds and the awesome biodiversity of the tropics while spreading the word about the importance of environmental conservation.
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6 Responses to A return to Seal Island

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  6. Dad says:

    Love the technology through which you can keep us all updated, such developments since your last excursion to Seal Island! Feathers Awry,
    this initial entry was awesome and we look forward to future updates. The web cam is incredible, although I have yet to see YOU!!?!! …and the Facebook postings/pictures are GREAT, need I say more..so Proud of your commitment and the energy you are putting forward for this research! ENJOY your time on Seal, we MISS YOU!! Love you to the moon and BEYOND:)


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