Funk Island is a tiny rock outcrop in the North Atlantic, 40 km northeast of Fogo Island.
During summer, Funk Island is home to more than a million seabirds, including the largest breeding colony of Common Murres in the world, Northern Gannets, Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills. It is also the former home of the now extinct Great Auk.
Funk Island is a precious endowment but a delicate and vulnerable environment and for its protection, it has been designated a Newfoundland and Labrador Ecological Seabird Reserve. Unauthorized visits are prohibited.
Research scientist, Bill Montevecchi is one of the few people who frequently visits Funk Island. He has been going there for decades to study the birds and their ocean environment, to monitor the health of the colonies and to observe the birds’ ongoing challenges for survival in the North Atlantic.
In this web series, we visit Funk Island with Bill as our guide and interpreter. He will help us to understand the island’s inhabitants in the context of the larger marine environment, of which they (and we) are integral participants.
The website consists of a series of 9 videos each exploring different aspects of life on the island and of Bill’s scientific research. It is further supplemented with short essays on the history of the human exploitation and scientific inquiry on this remote, mysterious rock. The Ecological Reserve status of Funk Island and fact sheets about the seabirds are also detailed.
The website is meant to inform, educate and entertain and to bring to the viewer a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of this global seabird capital. We highlight the resiliency and the vulnerability of the seabirds, address the extinction of the Great Auk, evaluate the information that seabirds provide, and highlight the importance that Seabird Ecological Reserves have for the protection of natural treasures off our coast.
Bill’s thoughts and experience give us insights into the wonders that we witness and in the role of science in understanding this “marvelous, terrible place”.