Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge
|Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Atlantic Puffins and razorbills on Seal Island
|Location||Knox County, Maine, United States|
|Nearest city||Vinalhaven, Maine|
|Area||65 acres (26 ha)|
|Governing body||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
|Website||Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge|
Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 1-mile long (1.6 km) island off the coast of Maine near Matinicus Island that is part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to colonies of many types of seabirds, including Atlantic puffins, great cormorants, Arctic terns, common terns, and guillemots. The puffin colony is part of the National Audubon Society's reintroduction program off the coast of Maine.
During the Cold War, the island was used as a gunnery range and bombing test site for the U.S. Navy. Unexploded ordnance remains on the island, though some were detonated by a fire in the late 1970s. The blaze wiped out every bird colony on the island, but the island has been since resettled by an even greater diversity of birds. During any given summer season, over 100 species of birds are observed by researchers on the island. The ordnance still presents a danger to refuge staff and interns.