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Birding from the Edge

February 12, 2018

7:15 pm - 9:15 pm


“Birding from the Edge”: A rare look glimpse into the life of a biologist living off the grid, twenty-two miles from shore, and amongst the birds on Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, Maine.

with Keenan Yakola

Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge is located 22 miles off of Rockland Maine. The island is home to a large colony of nesting seabirds including Atlantic Puffins, Arctic and Common terns, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Leach’s Storm-Petrels as well as Double-crested and Great cormorants. The nesting seabird colony is monitored each summer by a team of biologists and interns working for the National Audubon Society’s, “Project Puffin”. The past three summers Keenan has had the privilege to work on the island as the research supervisor overseeing the interns as they study these charismatic seabirds. In addition, the island’s unique geographic location attracts migrant songbirds and shorebirds during the spring and fall. During the past three summers he has accumulated stories, pictures, and has shared his knowledge and passion of seabird conservation. Since Seal Island NWR has restricted access and the public cannot visit the island this is a rare opportunity to get a brief glimpse of the beauty that is seamlessly never ending on Maine’s Coastal Islands.

Keenan Yakola is a native Cape Codder who first got interested in birding and conservation with at Wellfleet Bay Audubon Sanctuary during an internship at Nauset High School. Since then he has received is Bachelors Degree from the University of Massachusetts in Wildlife Conservation, studied songbirds in Kenya and Tanzania, bushwhacked through the Peruvian Amazon, banded songbirds and shorebirds from Cape Cod to Florida and over the past four years has lived out of his tent for four months each summer on islands in the Gulf of Maine. He is now back at UMass Amherst as a Master’s Fellow with the DOI Northeast Climate Center studying seabirds’ vulnerability to climate change in the Gulf of Maine.

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