PORTLAND PRESS HERALD DARKROOM
Eastern Egg Rock puffins

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Island supervisor Laura Brazier, bottom right, chats with interns Nicole "Coco" Faber, bottom left, and Audrey Holstead, top right, and Christine Sinnigen, an aviculturist from the New England Aquarium.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    A puffin makes its way to a burrow.

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    Terns fly over the cabin and tents of resident interns on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    Nicole "Coco" Faber, left, and Laura Brazier record weather data in the cabin on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    A small group of puffins floats just offshore of Eastern Egg Rock, a gathering that is referred to as "rafting." Eastern Egg Rock is home to the world's first restored Atlantic puffin colony.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Christine Sinnigen, an aviculturist from the New England Aquarium, sets up her tent on a platform. The seven-acre Eastern Egg Rock is closed to the public during the puffins’ nesting season, leaving the four to five interns on the island with little human contact.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Last year, there were a record 172 breeding pairs of puffins on Eastern Egg Rock – aided in large part by surface temperatures that were cooler by a half-degree centigrade from the year before.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Audrey Holstead, of Lucas, Texas, observes terns on Eastern Egg Rock as a tour boat passes by.

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    Laura Brazier and Nicole "Coco" Faber row around the island in a rubber raft. Aerobic exercise is hard to come by on the small island, staff members say.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davi | of | Share this photo

    Eastern Egg Rock is home to the world's first restored Atlantic puffin colony. In 2000, there were only 20 nesting pairs on the island. Last year, there were almost eight times as many.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Kay Garlick-Ott, of Washington, D.C., watches birds at sunset on Eastern Egg Rock. The interns get stipends, and the positions are paid for through donors who sponsor an intern at a cost of $7,000 for a steward and $10,000 for a supervisor.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Puffins are amusing to watch. When young puffins return to the island before they reach breeding age, they peek in burrows to watch the mating puffins.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Kay Garlick-Ott carries eggs while trapping and banding common terns on Eastern Egg Rock. Island stewards such as Garlick-Ott, mostly college students or recent graduates, live in tents for 10 weeks from June to August during the puffins’ breeding season.

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    Laura Brazier cradles a common tern while banding it on Eastern Egg Rock. The project has grown to include other Maine seabirds.

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    Nicole "Coco" Faber, left, and Laura Brazier, right, watch as Kay Garlick-Ott bands a common tern on Eastern Egg Rock. The role of these interns has become more critical the past decade, as rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine has taken a toll on the food chain that puffins and their chicks depend on.

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    Christine Sinnigen, an aviculturist from the New England Aquarium, bands a common tern on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Audrey Holstead, of Lucas, Texas, releases a common tern after trapping and banding it on Eastern Egg Rock. Over the past 45 years, more than 550 interns have spent summers on the treeless Eastern Egg Rock and two other remote islands off the coast of Maine.

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    An arctic tern carries food in its mouth while flying over Eastern Egg Rock.

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    A common tern sits atop "Robo Ranger," a robotic device that was used to scare off gulls, but no longer works. The staff members change his clothes from time to time.

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Laura Brazier watches terns while trying to identify their nest locations on Eastern Egg Rock. The interns protect the birds and their nesting sites from predators, and gather meticulous data about puffins and their feeding habits.

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    Laura Brazier carries a common tern that she trapped before banding it on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    Island steward supervisor Laura Brazier checks for a tern nest on Eastern Egg Rock. “I love searching for nests. It’s so satisfying if you find one, but it can be soul-crushing if you don’t.”

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    Eastern Egg Rock puffins - Staff photo by Derek Davis | of | Share this photo

    Tern eggs sit in a nest on Eastern Egg Rock.

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    Terns take flight at sunset.

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