[audubon-news] Tern and Puffin Cam Activated

  • From: "BIANCHI, John" <JBIANCHI@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipients:;
  • Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 11:47:28 -0400

Contact: Steve Kress


Project Puffin's Seabird Cam Gets Up-Close with Common and Roseate Terns

Hog Island, Maine, June 11, 2003 - Audubon is pleased to announce that 
researchers, students, and bird lovers all over the planet will once more have 
the chance to get an intimate look at Maine's seabirds.  The Project Puffin 
seabird camera is now beaming live-streaming video of Eastern Egg Rock's 
nesting Common and Roseate Tern colonies, just off the Maine Coast.  The tiny 
island is home to the world's first restored puffin and tern colony and it is 
the largest colony of endangered Roseate Terns in the state.  This is the 
fourth year that the camera has beamed real time video to the web; to watch, 
click on www.projectpuffin.org .

The robotic camera was funded by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, and is the 
invention of Daniel Zatz of SeeMore Wildlife systems.  It transmits microwave 
signals from the south end of Eastern Egg Rock to the Audubon Visitor Center in 
Bremen, Maine, eight miles across Muscongus Bay.  A unique feature of the 
camera allows an operator in the visitor center to pan the camera in all 
directions, zooming in and out for closer views.  The resolution of the camera 
is so sharp that biologists operating the camera can read the numbers on tiny 
bands attached to the terns and measure the length of the terns' beaks - a 
technique for determining the sex of the bird.   Mainland operators can also 
wash the camera lens and wipe it dry using remote operated windshield wipers. 

Currently the terns can be seen incubating eggs, which should begin to hatch 
during the third week of June.  Around July 15, the camera location will shift 
to enable viewers to see Atlantic Puffins.  The camera will operate each 
morning from 9-11 a.m. to insure a variety of views of all species within reach 
of the powerful lens.  Later in the summer, interns on the island will 
occasionally provide on-line, narrated talks directly from Egg Rock bird 

The National Audubon Society started Project Puffin 30 years ago this summer. 
The program began in 1973 in an effort to learn how to restore puffins to 
historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine.  Young puffins usually return to 
breed on the same island where they hatched.  Armed with that knowledge, 
Audubon researchers transplanted 954 young puffins from Great Island to Eastern 
Egg Rock between 1973 and 1986.  Transplanted puffins began returning to 
Eastern Egg Rock in June 1977 and the colony has since increased to 52 pairs by 
2002.  Through the dedication of Project Puffin, Atlantic Puffins were restored 
to Eastern Egg Rock after a 100-year absence and the colony is now thriving. 
The techniques developed at Egg Rock for puffins also restored terns to the 
island and the techniques are now used widely for rare and endangered seabirds 

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat 
that supports them.  Our national network of community-based nature centers and 
chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas 
sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages 
and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

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