Portion of Keewaydin closed to protect birds during nesting season

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Rookery Bay is closing a small portion of Keewaydin Island during the nesting season for migratory bird species.

Rookery Bay is closing a small portion of Keewaydin Island during the nesting season for migratory bird species. Watch »

As if on cue, one tiny Wilson’s plover materialized on the beach at the south end of Keewaydin Island, and a group of research botanists became palpably excited.

The bird was the immediate object of affection, because it is one of three species the botanists hope to nurture this coming summer breeding season by closing off a small section of the island.

The other species are the snowy plover and the least tern, which like to scoop out shallow “scrapes” in the sand for egg laying and subsequent incubation.

Wednesday this week, botanists were out on the island pinpointing GPS coordinates for sign placement the following day.

Encroachment by human beings on the popular boaters’ island is one of the reasons a protective area has been designated for the past six years.

The need for protection, said Craig Faanes, is because the birds have “adaptive coloration” and blend in with the sand, making them hard to spot, and consequently easy to disturb.

Faanes, who is research management coordinator with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve near Marco, said the two plover varieties head for this area after wintering in the Caribbean, while the endangered least terns make the trip from South America.

The designated area, which does not affect the beaching of boats because it is inland and beyond the high tide mark, will be out of bounds from the end of this week through about mid-August.

It is then that hatchlings are strong enough to join flocks for the return trip, said Rookery Bay’s Renee Wilson, a research translator.

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Comments » 6

lauralbi1 writes:

Now all we have to do is get people to leash their dogs, required by law on Keewaydin, so they do not eat the eggs or other dogs.
Hopefully, the Sherriff will enforce the law, especially now with these birds !!!!!!!
Ed Issler

OldMarcoMan writes:

Maybe we should just leash the Ed's.

aj writes:

After 15 years on the island with my dogs I was upset at the leash law but now feel it is necessary due to the idiots who just let their dogs jump off the bow of the boat and run around and defaecate and not pick it up and some little kid steps in it. I have seen owners just look and refuse to "pick it up". Keywaytin has become so crowded since Rookery Bay sunk Coconut Island.

lauralbi1 writes:

OldMarcoMan: I could not help but observe some sort of hostility or disageement with my posting. What is it about what I said that would make you state an idiotic, moronic response like you did ?? There is a leash law on Keewaydin and very few people observe it (I do). A friend of mine had her dog ripped to pieces (he lived and it cost thousands) by an unleashed dog on Keewaydin. I am making every effort to make certain the Sherriff and Wildlife Control are out there every weekend to make certain that violators are punished to the full extent of the law. Do you have a problem with that ?? If so, go someplace else.
Ed Issler

OldMarcoMan writes:

Ed! Good to see you just post and run!

Why does everything have to be all or nothing Ed?
I was on a trip to South Carolina and aw dogs on several of their Beaches.
'What's the deal with this? I ask.
I was told they let dogs on their Beaches in the off season and/or when there is no nesting taking place.
Wow! A compromise!
I'm not saying that that's what we should do, but its one way others have worked out a problem.
Now I wont call you any names, it cheapens the debate, but look for ways to accommodating not insinuating.

lauralbi1 writes:

I love a good discussion. I'm not opposed to discussiong anything, including this and I relish the opportunity. I actually have no problem with your observation. My statements were made on the basis of crowded Keewaydin with many loose dogs. On any weekend on Keewaydin, I have not seen that many where loose dogs would not have been a nuisance. In addition, people tend to lounge and let their dogs roam, and that is not good. We will soon see how many concientious dog owners we have when they allow dogs in the parks. I own two dogs myself. I think the problem is more people than dogs. But, let's see what happens. The last point is that this is a County Ordinance and not a Marco Ordinance. So until it is changed, we need to abide by the law.
Ed Issler

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