The rocky coasts and islands of Maine provide vital habitat for nesting and wintering Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima). The state of Maine has been exploring the possibility of installing offshore marine wind turbines. In order to properly conserve and manage wildlife populations that utilize Maine’s natural resources, studies are needed to better understand wildlife abundance, their movements, population, and general patterns, prior to wind farm construction. Previous offshore wind power studies in Europe have found positive and negative impacts to certain wildlife species, including the Common Eider.
Our primary objectives were to track Common Eiders wintering in Maine near proposed wind farm test site areas, using satellite telemetry to gain insight into the species’: 1) daily movements from daytime feeding areas and nighttime roosting areas and 2) identify important migratory flyways from wintering to breeding locations.
During the springs of 2010 and 2012, we tagged a total of eight Common Eider hens among nesting islands in Casco Bay and outer Penobscot Bay, Maine. We captured and banded Common Eider hens on or near their nests with long handled dip nets. Visibly healthy hens were immediately transported to on-site field houses. Wildlife veterinarians performed the surgery to implant a satellite transmitter in each eider.
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