Shorebird survival

Fuzzy Life, Clear Message

“My life is my message,” Mahatma Gandhi

You may recall our Long Beach effort to protect our shore’s Oystercatcher nesting on mounds of unsifted sands: https://tinyurl.com/bdwkS-eyes

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The nest, about one month ago

 

But sadly, I visited the site and the nest is no longer there, no shells, no feathers, nothing but sand and stone:

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Barren sands

I had visited the site on May 30th. From the boardwalk, I couldn’t see if the nest was still being sat. So I mounted a nearby mound and saw an oystercatcher sitting on the nesting spot.

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The nesting Oystercatcher, May 30, 2018

But strangely neither she nor her mate tried to scare me off. I was very curious about that. Then yesterday, I was told that a few others had visited the site after me and found similar conditions. The last visitor found the mound totally without a nest, birds or eggs. Something or someone had destroyed the nest. I’m hoping it was the former.

We did have an incident a few years back when a young man took an egg from a nest in that area and broke it on our boardwalk. It was said that he was a young man, about 12 or so. See https://leebythesea.me/2015/06/24/life-death-sand-and-ice/

It is even possible that a more mature, or rather older malevolent mind, might have been too eager to see his beach flat and smooth again. The eggs were expected to hatch today …as I type these words. Please note it is a crime to intentionally move or destroy nesting migratory birds. If anyone has real knowledge of such a crime I urge them to report it to your local authorities.

There is no factual reason to believe at this point that this was a human destructive act…though my suspicious mind persists. So, without any other information to the contrary, we may think it was the result of natural predation of gulls, see: https://leebythesea.me/2016/05/20/words-and-birds/, https://leebythesea.me/2015/05/31/so-fragile-so-precious/ or raccoons or other natural predators: http://amoywg.org/american-oystercatcher/behavior/

Despite this loss, of our shorebirds’ nest, we did have an opportunity to witness an exemplary Long Beach effort to preserve the nesting shorebirds while important beach restoration moved forward.

Memorial Day was fast approaching and the Long Beach Public Works Dept was trying to prepare for the expected thousands of sun-and-fun-loving beach park visitors.

I visited the site that Memorial Day weekend and was happy to see that Long Beach did show all who visited or read about Long Beach and its Oystercatcher nests what we can do.

There stood the mounds that were to be sifted and leveled. But the nesting Oystercatchers sat atop them undisturbed while sunning humankind spread out on the nearby sands. Yes, there can be peaceful coexistence in our times…at least on these humble Long Island shores.

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Memorial Day, peaceful coexistence

We can thank the Long Beach Public Works Dept, and especially the New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers for there forbearance in this important demonstrative matter. It was a successful convergence of assessment, judgment, and compassionate action, a very welcome and refreshing confluence in today’s political environment.

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sunbathing under a watchful oystercatcher’s eye

If the destroyed nest was the work of a young developing mind or an anxious adult, it was an errant act…not official policy. Though there is a Dept of Interior Memorandum with a different perspective. See: https://tinyurl.com/bdwkS-eyes

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Our ill-fated sand mound eggs

You know, there are so many thousands of shorebird lovers in Long Beach who care about our little fuzzy sand life. And there are millions of wildlife lovers in the world who care about all creatures. But this caring is not just about birds or whales,  it’s about bringing compassion to the fore in this often disinterested world. It’s about a message to the unconcerned about caring for the most vulnerable amongst us…perhaps, those even of our own species.

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Our dedicated beach team

So, today we won’t have my fellow photogs vying for shots of shorebird chicks sliding and tumbling down the sand mound into our world, photos and videos we might share with you and your children.  But in this tiny corner of the USA, in these times of “progress at any cost”, Long Beach and its good people at this City by the Sea have shown compassion for the vulnerable creatures among us.

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Oystercatcher chick from a past nesting leaping into our world

And there are untold Long Beaches spanning America and across our blue globe. There are so many of you with so much to say. Maybe if we all speak with our actions. Maybe if we all send these tiny messages, collectively, we might be an overwhelming voice. A voice that might cause unconcerned minds to awaken.

Be well,

Leebythesea

2 replies »

  1. I think maybe next year we have a video camera mounted on the closest light pole to stop things like this from happening.

    Like

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