A quickly typed (not necessarily accurate) History of Young Island Birds.
1. Pre-history: var. cedars (as assumed from observing other islands).
2. Next: Cleared for year-round homestead and grazed by sheep.
3. Reverted to sumac and cedar (and poison ivy);
a few herring gulls nested on the perimeter beach.
4. Removal of some vegetation allowed room for later formation of
a ring-billed gull colony.
5. The night heron nests in perimeter shrubbery brought in
cattle egret and snowy egret.
6. Great black-backed gulls joined the colony.
5. Arrival of cormorants spelled doom for larger vegetation,
including the perimeter cottonwood trees.
6. Caspian tern chicks could hide in vegetation (nettle & thistle).
7. 2007 application of Round-Up® by an individual on a personal agenda
destroyed ALL vegetation -- soil subjected to severe wind erosion !
(and no seeds for the winter passerine flocks).
8. And now, 2008 -- the planting of oak trees -- oaks!!!
Any daytime shooting, planting, disturbance, etc. lifts birds
off nests, leading to immediate nest depredation by gulls.
At least, on the Four Brothers Islands a few years ago, the
initial loss of eggs by the caspian tern colony led to a
later renesting, after the gulls had fledged their young.
I understand that the colony of terns is now larger and secure.
Closer to home, the House Finch egg in a nest ursurped by Phoebes,
hatched today. I anticipate the hatching of the three Phoebe eggs
beginning tomorrow. Meanwhile, the House Finches, renesting
in a bird box eight feet from the Phoebe nest, have four brand new eggs.
Dave Hoag, Grand Isle.<BR><BR><BR>**************<BR>Wondering what's for Dinner Tonight? Get
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