and Description: Eastern Egg Rock (Knox, Co.) is a 7-acre
island located in outer Muscongus Bay, 6 miles east of New Harbor.
The treeless island is designated the Allan D. Cruickshank Wildlife
Sanctuary in honor of this noted Maine ornithologist and photographer.
The island is fringed by a berm of massive granite boulders that
provide nesting habitat for puffins and guillemots. The interior
habitat is home to nearly 4,000 pairs of nesting terns, laughing
gulls and eiders. The rank vegetation, fertilized annually by the
birds, is dominated by dense pasture grasses, raspberry, and elderberry.
Eastern Egg Rock is owned by the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries
and Wildlife and is managed by National Audubon Society through
a cooperative agreement. The island is home to the Adopt-A-Puffins—some
of which are more than 30 years old.
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 worldwideto 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 have increased in response to fishing and municipalwaste.
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 2008 101 pairs nested. 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 1,350 pairs. Among these are about 150 pairs of endangered
Roseate Terns, more than half of the Gulf of Maine population.
Access: The Island is closed to public visitation during the seabird breeding season (April 1st to August 31st). Organized
tour boats visit the island daily during the breeding season
for viewing the restored seabird colony. Staff transportation
to the island is provided by the project boat or aboard one
of two commercial tour boats. The Project's 23' Seaway (Lunda
III) is moored near our summer office in Bremen, 8 miles north
of Eastern Egg Rock. The trip to Eastern Egg Rock takes approximately
30 minutes. After mid-June, occasional staff transfers or supply
drops may be done from puffin tour boats. All food, gear and
personal equipment are rowed ashore in a small inflatable rowboat
(stored on the island); the landing can be difficult due to
surge and minimal protection– high tide is generally the preferred
time to land. Island staff are oftenresponsible for securing
supplies and groceries before heading to the island.
Living and Accommodations: During the field season,
4-5 people live and work on the island and with the exception
of the supervisor; staff and volunteers remain on the island for
an average of 2-3 weeks per stint. A 12'x12' cabin (affectionately
dubbed the "Egg Rock Hilton") is the hub of the living quarters
and serves as a kitchen, "dining room", office, equipment storage
room, and research blind. The kitchen has a propane stove, and
tiny refrigerator. There is an outdoor solar shower and composting
toilet. Five tent platforms are provided for personal use and
accommodate small tents with a footprint of 8'x8'. A solar system
powers research needs.
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. Black Tern has nested once
in 2008. 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 several Maine notables; Bridled
Tern, Sabine’s Gull, and Royal Tern.
Island Monitoring, Research and Management
Puffins, Common, Arctic, and Roseate Terns, Black Guillemots,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 and participation by staff and volunteers
throughout the field season and for writing a final report. Work
includes, but is not limited to the following projects; annual tern,
eider, and laughing gull census, tern band resighting, tern chick
provisioning, productivity and growth studies, puffin census, productivity,
band resighting and provisioning studies, vegetation monitoring
and management and daily weather and bird lists.
here for a PDF map of Eastern Egg Rock Island Puffin Management
here for a PDF map of Eastern Egg Rock Island Tern Management
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