Black Guillemots are common along the periphery of Great Duck Island, where they nest under large boulders in the island berm. In 2002 we recorded 808 Guillemots around Great Duck. Our high count from the lighthouse tower was 395. Guillemots typically lay from one to three eggs, which they incubate in crevices along the shoreline. Typical food includes “red rock eels” which are actually not eels at all, but rather gunnels.
Guillemot chicks are a perennial favorite with members of the Island Research team, we band all chicks that we can reach, but band life in guillemots is low due to constant wear of the band on the rocky substrate of their nesting and roosting habitat.
Guillemots are close relatives of puffins and razorbills, both of whom breed in small numbers to the east and west of Great Duck and in vast numbers in the far north (the Atlantic puffin is probably the most common seabird in the North Atlantic, with population estimates as high as 14 million!). In Maine, Great Duck shares with Penobscot Seal Island the title of “largest guillemot colony on the eastern coast of the U.S.”