Each summer a team of students spends June and July on Great Duck Island, working on studies of Herring and Black Backed Gulls, Guillemots, and Leach’s Storm Petrels. Work at Great Duck is done in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and the State of Maine, co-owners of the bulk of the island.
Our “home away from home” is the Great Duck Island Light Station, now converted to the college’s Alice Eno Field Research Station. We also collaborate with colleagues at Acadia National Park, New England Aquarium, and in the Canadian Wildlife Service to monitor movement patterns in birds, stress levels in gulls, foraging patterns along the coast, and the effects of sea-level rise on seabird colonies.
While on Great Duck, students not only to monitor populations of seabirds, but also to learn techniques for censusing wildlife, running an island research station, and applying GIS and GPS technologies to real world conservation projects. IRC alumni have done or are doing graduate work on birds ranging from Florida Scrub Jays and Wild Turkeys to Caspian and Arctic Terns.