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Studies Document Bird Migration Routes Along the Maine Coast
12/21/2010 03:48 PM ET  

The study conducted by the BioDiversity Research Institute in Gorham could have implications for the siting of offshore wind power facilities.

Gorham's BioDiversity Research Institute in Gorham has documented what it calls a significant migratory pathway for owls and falcons along the Maine coast, in research that could have implications for the siting of wind power facilities.

In a study conducted this past fall, BRI wildlife biologists tracked the movement of northern saw-whet owls and several falcon species from research stations set up along the entire Maine coast and on Monhegan Island.

"Now we know for certain that saw-whet owls migrate at night between Maine's coastal islands," says BRI Wildlife Research Biologist, Kate Williams, in a statement. "This is one of those amazing scientific moments of discovering something quite new."

The researchers attached satellite transmitters to two peregrine falcons on Monhegan Island in order to follow the movements of the birds for more than a year. Since early October, they say, the two falcons have travelled mroe than 6,400 combined miles and are now in Cuba and Columbia. The birds' migration can be followed on the institute's Web site, www.briloon.org/MBAN.

"This is work that is critically important to understanding bird movements in the Gulf of Maine region," says University of Maine Professor Dr. Rebecca Holberton, who heads the Gulf of Maine's Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network. "And it helps identify which species might be affected by coastal and nearshore windpower development."



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