Bird Island Light

Nov. 5, 2019

Bird Island Light, Bird Island, Sippican Harbor, Marion, Massachusetts

Built in 1819.


Location: Sippican Harbor off of Buzzards Bay closest to the Town of Marion.
Station Established –
First Lit: September 1,1889
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1997
Deactivated: 1933 – 1997
Foundation: Surface Rock
Construction Material: Rubble stone
Tower Shape: Conical
Markings: White with black lantern
Relationship to other structures: Separate
Original Lens: 1819
Tower Height: 31 Feet
Original Optic: 10 Lamps –14-inch reflectors. Then a Fourth Order Fresnel lens installed in 1856
Present Optic: 300 mm
Characteristics: White flash every six seconds
First Keeper: William S. Moore
Current Use: Private aid to navigation
Fog Signal: Pyramidal Bell Tower
National Register Status

Historical Information: 

* On March 3,1819 Congress appropriated $11,500 for 3 separate aids to navigation including a lighthouse on Bird Island. 
* On September 1,1819 Bird Island light went into operation with William Moore as the First Keeper. In December 1819 a severe storm devastated the light station. 
* Bird Island Light was one of the few lighthouses at that time to receive a revolving optic. In 1856 a Fourth Order Fresnel Lens was installed. 
* On September 8, 1869 another severe storm wiped out Bird Island Light. It was repair in 1869. 
* On June 15,1933 Bird Island Light was taken out of service. A hurricane on September 21,1938 hit the island and took all the structures off the island except the tower. 
* In 1940 the island was sold at auction to a private party. Since 1966 the Town of Marion has owned the island. 
* Bird Island light was briefly lit in 1976. In 1994 the Bird Island Preservation Society was formed. Funds were raised to restore the tower. 
* On July 4, 1997 Bird Island Light was relit as a private aid to navigation. The island is cover with shrubs and rocks and is a nesting ground for the endangered Roseate Terns from May through August. 

Researched and written by Linda Herman, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.