Petit Manan is an island of just ten acres (although it can become up to 17 acres at the lowest neap tide). The island hosts nesting populations of three tern species (arctic, common and hopefully roseate), three alcid species (Atlantic puffin, black guillemot and razorbill), one sea duck species (common eider), one gull species (laughing gull), one passerine species (savannah sparrow) and one shorebird species (spotted sandpiper).
With all of these avian inhabitants as well as four human researchers, certain adjustments must be made early in the season to accommodate all the wildlife. One of these adjustments is removal of excessive vegetation. The southern end of the island, over recent years, has slowly been losing nesting habitat due to the encroachment of vegetation. One of the major culprits of this loss is the plant beach-pea (Lathyrus japnicus). This native plant is common to the coastline from Maine to New Jersey. We are happy to have it as an island resident but its abundance in certain areas was having a detrimental effect on the tern nesting potential. A few days were spent removing beach pea from this area and as a result we expect to see an increase in nest sites in this area.
So as you all tend to your flower and vegetable gardens, we will be weeding a garden of our own to make room for all the seabird nest sites. Happy Gardening!