SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Author Stephen Kress will discuss the effort being made to protect puffins and other seabirds when he visits the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 5:30 p.m. He also will speak at the Northeast Harbor Library on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m.
Worldwide, about one-third of all seabird species are now globally threatened because of the effects of invasive predatory mammals, marine pollution, coastal development and effects of global warming. A recent study has shown that 60 percent of all seabirds have vanished in the last 60 years. As the most threatened group of birds on Earth, the topic would seem hopeless. Yet the program that Kress will present is one of hope and inspiration as he shares news about restoration projects that are helping some of the world’s rarest seabirds.
Kress, director of National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp, also will discuss insights into the changing Gulf of Maine as revealed by puffins and terns. His research has shown the connections between warm water, increased rainfall and the plankton blooms that nourish forage fish such as herring and hake. He also will share the recent discovery of the previously unknown winter home for Maine puffins, an area known as the “coral canyons and sea mounts” off New England’s continental shelf.
For more than 40 years, Kress has developed methods for restoring and managing colonial nesting seabirds, especially puffins and terns. His research interests include developing methods for restoring populations of colonial water birds and management of their habitat. He also is interested in adaptive foraging ecology of seabird colonies in response to climate change and fisheries. Hundreds of professional seabird biologists can trace their first interest in seabirds to working with Kress at Audubon’s Maine Seabird Sanctuaries. He received his doctorate from Cornell University in natural resources and environmental education.
Kress is the co-author, with Derrick Jackson, of the new book “Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock.” A book signing will follow the lecture. Call the library at 244-7065.