In 1977, a puffin landed with a hand-painted decoy at Egg Rock – the first puffin to explore Egg Rock in nearly 100 years, and the beginning of developing a restoration method now called social attraction. Puffins (and most other seabirds) nest in colonies, but are wary about starting colonies. With the landing of that first puffin, puffin restoration took a giant step toward helping birds start colonies in safe places. This proactive approach is now helping seabirds worldwide.
This year, Project Puffin took the idea a huge step forward when it accepted the generous donation of the Mad River Decoy company of Waitsfield, Vermont. Company founders, Jim and Nancy Henry, were retiring and looking for a new nest for their company. The rest is now history as three members of the project team, Sue Schubel, Eric Snyder, and Susie Meadows, picked up the challenge to produce rugged conservation decoys. Since January, they have produced more than a dozen seabird species ranging from Least Terns to Black-footed Albatrosses and shipped them to destinations as far as Australia, Netherlands, and Hawaii in the name of seabird restoration. For details, take a look at the feature article on the Audubon Web site: Inside Audubon’s New Decoy Workshop. For more information about Project Puffin and its work with social attraction and conservation decoys, click here.