Friday, July 01, 2005

Keep Off Charles & Duck Islands

As of today, you won't be able to get onto Charles Island in Milford or Duck Island in Westbrook legally until September 9. The Connecticut DEP has shut down access to the islands to protect nesting snowy egrets, great egrets, glossy ibis and little blue herons. The DEP press release says:

"Despite all of the educational and protective efforts provided for the 2005 season, human disturbance continues to jeopardize the continued existence of rookeries at Duck and Charles Islands," said Jenny Dickson, a DEP Wildlife Division biologist. "At Charles Island, the birds have already shifted away from their preferred nesting site and are frequently displaying alarm behavior."

And here's more from the New Haven Register.

Speaking of nesting birds and human disturbance, I heard from Miley Bull of Connecticut Audubon yesterday regarding this post about Sandy Point, in West Haven.

I had summarized a study of Sandy Point's least terns by saying that researcher Jennifer Healey has found that common terns and birdwatchers had caused the most disturbance to the least terns. Miley wrote:

It was noted that birders caused the most disturbances (in frequency), but had little effect on the birds themselves, ie. the birds settled quickly back on the nests. This is opposed to other disturbances, like dogs, that seem to have a more lasting effect (the birds stayed off their nests longer).


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