• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Small Mammal Trapping Studies on Lovells & Blumpkin Islands

Dr. Lauren Nolfo-Clements
Dr. Lauren Nolfo-Clements
Department of Biology
Suffolk University
41 Temple Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 573-8603
e-mail author
 
Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.

Dr. Nolfo-Clements discussed the preliminary results of 2 projects on the Boston Harbor Islands.

1) A least tern nesting colony on Lovells Island suffered complete decimation during the 2007 breeding season. In an effort to uncover the culprit, motion sensing and infrared detection remote cameras were set in the former nesting area of the least terns. Dummy nests baited with domestic quail eggs were placed at camera trap sites. Both mammalian and avian species were documented in the nesting area. American crows, rats and European rabbits were recorded as nest destroyers/predators.

2) In the first part of a multi–year study aimed at uncovering patterns of small mammal diversity and habitat use on the harbor islands, one-hundred live traps were set on Lovells Island. After over 500 trap nights, only one immature introduced rat (Rattus norvegicus) was documented. Traps were then moved to Bumpkin Island where over 120 individual animals were captured in 800 trap nights. There were over 230 captures (including recaptures) on this island. The island is inhabited by native white–footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Preliminary observations indicate that population density of small mammals on Bumpkin Island is very high. The predation pressure, however, on these small mammals by coyotes is intense, resulting in the use of traps as safe havens and potential nesting sites.

Did You Know?

Thompson Island

Thompson Island in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area was home to the first vocational school in America in 1833. The facility featured a farm, a wood shop and a print shop as well as America’s first organized school band. More...