The rocky coasts and islands of Maine provide vital habitat for nesting and wintering Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima). Since the state of Maine is considering installing offshore marine wind turbines, studies are needed to better understand patterns of wildlife movement and population fluxes before 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 main objective was to gain insight into daily and seasonal movements of Common Eiders on the northern Atlantic coast. We used satellite telemetry to track Common Eiders wintering in Maine near proposed wind farm sites to gain insight into the population’s diurnal movements between daytime feeding areas and nighttime roosting areas as well as to 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 hens on or near their nests with long handled dip nets. Visibly healthy hens were immediately transported to on-site field houses. Wildlife veterinarians implanted a satellite transmitter in each eider.
All eight tagged Common Eiders provided detailed information on daily and seasonal movements on the northern Atlantic coast.
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