Meret Wilson wrote:
> Just got back from 4 days over on the West coast area around St. Pete and
> Treasure Island.  Was quite interesting but got me so angry at one point I
> had to go inside to cool down.
> One AM I got up early to check out the birds along the waterline, which had
> been really good, when along comes this "rake" being pulled by a tractor,
> right where the birds were resting at top speed.  This was being done by
> Treasure Island City employees, obviously by design from the department.  If
> this is done every single morning, which I assume it is since I saw it being
> done for 3 of my 4 AMs there, I wonder what the effect is during the nesting
> season.
> Not that nesting season was a bust.  There were "tons" of fledged Sandwich,
> Royal and Least Tern young all over the place.


  Having spent much of my 40 years in Florida in that area, I can tell
  you that the effect during the nesting season is zero because nothing
  nests there. All those young birds you saw fledged from areas to the
  north & south where there is suitable habitat for nesting. Considering
  the fact that there are miles of beaches in Pinellas Co. where there
  is no (or vastly less) raking, why would those birds choose to roost
  there every night? The answer..... They like it there!!

  For those not familiar with the area, there is motel after motel for
  miles along Gulf Blvd. & a few public access areas such as Municipal
  Beach, (which my youngest daughter used to pronounce (YouMiserable Beach)
  where raking is done regularly and often. Not long after the raking is
  done the area fills up with a zillion people most days of the year.
  The tourists love those huge wide beaches where they can run without
  cutting there feet on broken cockle shells. When I was a resident of
  that area & took my girls to play there I appreciated it too.  Don't
  get me wrong, I am well aware of the fact that birds need loafing areas,
  & that this fact is often overlooked. But the fact is that some areas
  except at night & very early in the morning are just not suitable for
  loafing. The birds that sleep there at night (& those species can live
  over 30 years) know that early the next day the tractor will come & they
  will get up & go out & catch breakfast & come back & loaf after the
  raking is over, at least until all the people show up. Then they will
  fly north or south a few miles to hang out in less inhabited areas

  As the 2nd smallest & the most densely inhabited county in Florida,
  does pretty darn well by the birds. The best county park system in the
  nation (yes, the nation), is in little Pinellas Co., & most of them are
  not "people only" parks either. In fact, the Asst. Pinellas Co.
  Administrator came by invitation to Brevard Co. to explain how Pinellas
  has become such a leader in eco-tourism. I appreciate Meret's passion &
  desire to protect the birds, & am not being critical of her, but we all
  to know which are the true battle fields.

  On the other hand if that guy on the tractor is blasting through there
  so fast that he's running over the birds, I'll go over there myself & I
  gaurintee that I'll get out of jail before he gets out of the hospital!!!
  How's that for passion?

 Wes Biggs
 Florida Nature Tours, Orlando  407/363-1360  [log in to unmask]   ABA sponsored

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