Pond Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine.

Pond island lighthouse was put in operation in 1821, making the hazardous entrance to the Kennebec River safer for mariners.  The island was a transfer point for steamboat passengers traveling from Bangor to Augusta.  In 1963 the U.S. Coast Guard automated the station and removed the buildings leaving only the lighthouse. The island was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973 establishing Pond Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Pond Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 10-acre island in the mouth of the Kennebec River adjacent to Popham Beach. The treeless character and grass, forb, and shrub cover provides excellent habitat for nesting seabirds. In 1996, the Service, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the National Audubon Society initiated a tern restoration program on Pond Island.

In 1999, Pond Island produced its first tern chick in over 60 years, when 10 pairs of common terns successfully nested on the island. Since 1999 Pond Island has supported Common, Arctic and the endangered roseate terns. Common eiders also nest on the island and a variety of shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors stopover during spring and fall migration.

The Fish and Wildlife Service works with National Audubon Society to restore seabird populations and protect wildlife habitat on Pond Island. Each year Audubon and Refuge biologists collect information on seabird populations, food habits, productivity, and work to control predators such as great horned owls, great back-backed and herring gulls.


Pond Island is located in the mouth of the Kennebec River 16 miles northeast of Portland and adjacent to Popham Beach. The island can be accessed by personal boat only. Pond island is open during daylight hours from September 1 to March 31 and closed to public access during the seabird nesting season from April 1 to August 31. For more information, contact Refuge Manager at (207) 236-6970.

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