Our award-winning trip is recognized as a high quality educational ecotourism experience.
I am proud of the partnership that Project Puffin and Hardy Boat Cruises have developed. SInce 1986, Hardy Boat Cruises and Audubon naturalists have worked together to bring people close to the birds while providing fun and inspiring narrations about the puffins and other seabirds of Eastern Egg Rock. By donating part of the proceeds from each tour to Audubon, Hardy Boat Cruises is helping to insure a sustainable future for this special seabird colony.
- Stephen Kress, National Audubon Society; Founder and Director, Project Puffin
Hardy Boat Cruises has
contributed over $117,000 to Project Puffin!! Watch this video to learn more
about Puffins on Eastern Egg Rock and to experience a Puffin Watch aboard
the Hardy III.
In 2012, after 39 years of hard work by National Audubon’s Project Puffin, the Atlantic Puffin population on Eastern Egg Rock finally eclipsed 123 nesting pairs. Hundreds of puffins amazed and delighted us all this past summer. When Project Puffin began in the early seventies, no one could have imagined the success that the Project has enjoyed. Hardy Boat Cruises has partnered with Project Puffin since 1986. After 28 years of successful puffin watching, we have accumulated thousands of satisfied customers many of which return each year as part of their Maine vacation. This trip is not only for the laymen birdwatcher but is consistently recognized by top birders and bird watching groups. Audubon guides are aboard each night to provide high quality commentary on the history and biology of these fascinating and unique birds.
Once their single egg has hatched, both parents begin the process of feeding their insatiable youngster. A mad dash between the underground burrow and the feeding grounds, sometimes several miles away, ensues for the remainder of the summer. As evening approaches, the parents return to the island to rest and socialize before retiring for the evening. This is the ideal time to spot these small delightful birds as they are not so active and are frequently found loafing on the rocks or rafting together on the surface of the water. Sightings within 25-30 feet are common as these birds are quite accustomed to lobster boats and the Hardy III.
As we make our way out to this small rugged island, giant flash cards are presented depicting the silhouettes of commonly seen bird species. The presentation also includes the call patterns of different birds, a history of Maine’s migratory sea birds and the story of National Audubon’s Project Puffin. As we approach the island, everyone onboard is ready to spot the many species of seabirds that nest here during the summer. The commentary continues throughout the trip as we circle the island. If you are a nature lover or working on your life list of birds, this is a trip you will enjoy. As the colony of puffins has grown in recent years, individual variation has lead to a longer puffin season. We often enjoy the company of these small birds right through Labor Day weekend.
A portion of your fare is donated directly to Project Puffin to support their ongoing research and stewardship of this fragile colony. To date Hardy Boat Cruises has contributed $117,000 to Project Puffin. By enjoying a Puffin Watch with us, you are helping the staff and scientists that manage this colony succeed in their mission. Gifts and souvenirs are available directly from Project Puffin at the end of each trip. We are extremely proud of this award-wining trip and know that you will cherish it as much as we do.
For more than 10 years, the Hardy Boat has helped Maine Audubon introduce hundreds of people of all ages to Audubon's unique seabird conservation projects and the importance of wildlife conservation. The service offered by their friendly staff is consistently excellent, as we connect people with nature--Maine's most important resource.
- Margi Huber, Field Trip and Tour Coordinator, Maine Audubon
ATLANTIC PUFFIN (Fratercula artica)
Atlantic Puffins are members of the Auk family which includes all Puffins, Murres, Razorbills, Guillemots and Dovekies. Puffins are fondly referred to as "Sea Parrots." They are pelagic birds that are well adapted to a life far out to sea in the North Atlantic. They only return to land to reproduce. Typically, Puffins return to the Maine coast by mid to late April and begin to migrate back to their home on the water by late August. Puffins are small birds, only 10-12 inches tall and weighing about 1 pound. Their dual-purpose wings allow them to fly through the air and propel themselves underwater. They have a traditional diet of herring, hake and sand lance.
Puffins featured in June 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine: "Atlantic puffins had nearly vanished from the Maine coast until a young biologist defied conventional wisdom to lure them home."
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