Seabird Expert at FLI – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Seabird Expert at FLI

Stephen Kress P’07, P’10, director of National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program, spoke on “Saving Seabirds on our Crowded Coasts: Ethical Choices for Wildlife Conservation,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 in the Finger Lakes Institute classroom, 601 S. Main St.

His visit, sponsored by the HWS department of biology and the Finger Lakes Institute, was free and open to the public.

Kress came to campus as part of a new relationship between HWS and the Audubon Society. This marks the second year that the Colleges supported Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program, “Project Puffin,” through a dedicated student internship. This summer, one student will be chosen to participate as a student intern with Kress’ program, which will add an additional intern to the staff for Project Puffin.

He discussed the exploitation of Maine seabirds for food and feathers the increased threat to such species from gulls and other large scavengers, and how his work has led to the re-colonization of puffins, murres and terns to their historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine. A case in point is the colony on Eastern Egg Rock, a seven-acre island, which now hosts more than 5,000 nesting seabirds, including Atlantic Puffins, Common, Arctic and Roseate Terns.

Kress spoke about the successes of this program, including how over the past 32 years, his Audubon team has developed techniques with broad application to seabirds worldwide. He shared results from some of his other successful restoration projects: one to restore Common Murres in California after the Apex Houston oil spill; Caspian Tern and salmon conflicts on the Columbia River, and efforts to save the endangered Cahow, the national bird of Bermuda, from rising oceans.

Kress received his doctorate from Cornell University and is currently a Research Fellow there, teaching a popular course in Field Ornithology. He is a former director of the Audubon Camp in Maine and was ornithology instructor at Hog Island for many years, and has written many books on birding and backyard wildlife management.