Odd Jobs with Stewart B. McKinney Part 2: Falkner Island
Having finished up the easiest “job” I’d ever been assigned (babysitting Outer Island for a few days) I was prepared to have my next random task for Stewart B. McKinney be a little bit more difficulty (read: not a cakewalk).
Falkner Island is another of the Stewart B. McKinney’s holdings. During the Summer it’s one of the only places that Roseate Terns still breed and nest. Its had a variety of buildings on it since 1802 when a lighthouse was built there to keep boats from breaking themselves open on the rocks.
By August the Terns had largely left their nest’s on the island, but I was still kicking around Connecticut with time on my hands. I hadn’t been able to get out to Falkner until the season was almost over, so I jumped at the chance to see the place, even if it meant I’d be helping with cleanup.
Two days of removing the nest boxes used to protect the Terns while they incubated their eggs and repainting the research station was time well spent to get to explore.
The Nest Boxes were designed to protect the Tern eggs from predation by Gulls and Black Crowned Night Herons. The design has been altered over the years to reduce egg-mortality from heat (hence the chicken-wire covering the cutout on top of each).
Due to its importance as a breeding center for Roseate Terns, Falkner Island is closed to the public for most of the year. Stewart B. McKinney does open it up to the public on open house days during late-August. The view from the lighthouse is well worth the wait.