The Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge opens their 2014 Sunkhaze Café series with “The Birds of Petit Manan”, a talk by biologist Sarah Spencer on Saturday morning, March 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Daybreak Café on Main Street in Old Town.

The Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Milford is the sister refuge to the Maine Coastal Island Complex, a system of five separate refuges located just off our coast. Each island in the complex has a unique ecosystem offering different opportunities to wildlife. The island of Petit Manan is well known as an important sea bird breeding ground, but over 75 avian species have been identified on the island during the summer months.

Sarah’s Master research focused on puffins, razorbills, and the black guillemot. Utilizing tiny data recorders on the metal leg bands of puffins, Sarah’s research team was able to use sea surface temperature and other data to determine where the puffins were going to feed. Spending summers as a research technician, her team collected data over hundreds of hours of tern feeding observations, tern chick growth, as well as counting the nests of all the seabirds breeding on the island. Spencer admits she “could probably talk all day about those three species.”

Each year, the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Milford present the Sunkhaze Café series held Saturday mornings in Old Town at the Daybreak Bakery on Main Street. Sunkhaze Café is an informative and informal discussion series often followed by a hike and exploration of the bog and surrounding forest of Sunkhaze Meadows in Milford. For more information on the Sunkhaze Café or about the outdoor opportunities available at Sunkhaze Meadows, please contact the group online

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