BCR 116: Stephen Kress, Project Puffin

Stephen Kress is Vice-President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society and Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp. His career has focused on developing techniques for managing colonial nesting seabirds. In this role, he manages 13 seabird nesting islands in Maine that are home to more than 42,000 seabirds of 23 species including most of Maine’s rare and endangered seabirds. Hundreds of professional seabird biologists can trace their first interest in seabirds to Stephen Kress’s program- known widely as Project Puffin. Methods first developed in Maine such as chick translocations and social attraction are now standard practice worldwide. Dr. Kress received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Ohio State University. He is the co-author of Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock.

Show Notes:

  • What got you interested in birds and natural history?
  • early career brought you to the down east coast, first in Canada and then Hog Island Maine
  • Project Puffin was started in 1973. 
  • What was the reason it was started and why did some authorities feel that it would not work.
  • Early days on Eastern Egg Rock, bringing in Puffin chicks from Newfoundland and hand-rearing them to fledgling.
  • How to decoys, bird songs and mirrors bring terns to nest?
  • The life and needs of the Atlantic Puffin.
  • Signal event on July 4, 1981?
  • Techniques used to restore puffins and have been employed elsewhere.
  • What does your seabird research tell us about climate change and its effects on seabirds?
  • Is there an endpoint when you can consider your work with Project Puffin complete?
  • You have assumed the leadership role for the re-opened Hog Island Summer Camp. Tell us about this magical place.

Mentioned In Episode:

Project Puffin Seabird Restoration Program

Hog Island Audubon Camp

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