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Bird Island Lighthouse

Bird Island lighthouse

Marion, Massachusetts
Built in 1819


On Bird Island, marking the entrance to Sippican Harbor in Marion, Mass. Across from the Kitansett Golf Course.

Latitude: 41° 40' 12" N
Longitude: 70° 42' 58" W


Historic Stories:

Controversial Keeper at the Lighthouse

Bird Island Light’s first Keeper was William Moore, and was met with much controversy with the local townsfolk.

early image of original bird island light

Original Bird Island Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Although he clamed that his wife had mysteriously died from the effects of tobacco and that he had buried her himself on the island without services, many believed he murdered his wife.

Years later when the keeper’s house was being torn down in 1890, long after Moore's death, a gun and tobacco were found in a secret hiding place, further adding to the speculation of murder. Some have claimed over the years to have seen the ghostly figure of a women with a corn cob pipe at the site.

Moore also conducted experiments for improving products involving whale oil.

after 1890 image of bird island light

Bird Island Light After 1890
Courtesy US Coast Guard

With the creation of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914, shipping traffic significantly decreased in the area and the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933.

The town of Marion purchased the property in 1966 as an important nesting site for terns, and in 1997 the lighthouse was relit permanently for local mariners, and the island is managed by the Bird Island Preservation Society.



Places to Visit Nearby:

Marion is located on Buzzards Bay with golfing and other recreational activities for its community and visitors alike. It's a quiet place where many vacationers pass by on route to Cape Cod.

Bird Island light view from the road using a long lens The lighthouse can be viewed on the road on route to the Kitansett Golf Course.

At the golf course, in the back parking lot of the facility there is a small trail you can also view Bird Island Light and Cleveland Light a distance away. Ask permission to take photographs.

view of both lighthouses from road to golf course Visitors with normal binoculars can get a view of Cleveland East Ledge Lighthouse behind Bird Island Light along the road on the way to the Kitansett Golf Course.
There are plenty of golf courses in the region for visitors, and roads meander around the coast with lots of beautiful architecture to enjoy. golf station flag at Kitansett Golf Course


A few miles west, vistors can explore Bourne, which lies at the “gateway” to Cape Cod along the Cape Cod Canal with parks outlining the canal shores for nice quiet views. The Cape Cod Canal railroad bridge itself is quite a spectacle as a verticle lift bridge, and the view from the Cape Cod Canal Bridge takes you over 135 feet above the canal.

In Bourne, Monument Beach is a popular destination for those that don’t want to drive all the way into the Cape and is located just before the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. It’s a good-sized quiet beach, is very popular with local windsurfers, and has a docking area for boaters. Visitors can also enjoy the Concerts in the Park series over the summer, and the famous Scallop Festival in September.

For the kid in all of us, there is the Cartwheels2 Fun Center with the largest Go Cart track in the region, including Cape Cod. If you feel like getting wet, check out the Water Wizz Fun Park in East Wareham.


Directions for a Distant View:


My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours you can explore. You'll also find more details as to why Bird Island light is considered haunted.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England




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