CRANBERRY HOUSE

Display Panels

Many island birds, fish, and mammals are hidden here.

A list is available in the museum.

Children enjoy finding them.

Nature

Great Cranberry Island has a unique animal population, being limited to animals that can swim or fly, or were brought here as pets by humans.  So we do not have many of the animals found on Mt. Desert and inland.  Squirrels, skunks, raccoons, bears, and coyotes are all absent—thank goodness.  While moose do swim, there is no food here to interest them, as they prefer freshwater ponds.

The island animal population changes and adapts.  Sometimes humans upset the balance by destroying habitats or by over harvesting.  No longer do we see clouds of waterfowl or other birds.  No longer can one catch a flounder supper in just a few minutes in the Pool.

On the other hand, nature herself sometimes takes a hand in the changes.  Seventy years ago rabbits infested the island and caused heavy damage to gardens, much as the deer do now.  Eventually they were all killed off by the mink.  At one time there was a family of beavers living in the heath, but there were apparently too few to multiply.

Many songbirds and waterfowl visit the island as they pass through during their migration.  But some stay and treat us with their songs, such as the sweet Song Sparrow, the friendly Chickadee, and the colorful Goldfinch.  Barn swallows help keep the mosquito population down, but their numbers are declining because their favorite nesting sites—old boathouses—are gradually being torn down or converted to tight houses or garages.  The scavengers: Gulls, Crows, and Ravens keep our beaches free of litter.  Osprey now nest on the island, and majestic Eagles can be seen overhead.

Frogs help by eating mosquito larvae; the nonpoisonous snakes keep the rodent population in check.  Each animal or bird has a purpose, being either hunters or prey in the food chain.