These Islands are for the Birds

Bird Islands

What’s on the Bird Islands? They are packed with aquatic birds.

There are three artificially created islands in an artificial lake. It is interesting because especially during the warmer months they are full with nesting birds. They appear to be favoring these areas because the islands that are separated from the mainland. Separation allows access to only those who can reach them. The birds have no problem flying in to roost, build nests, procreate, lay eggs, hatch, develop, fledge and fly away. The islands are strategically positioned along an untamed slough which acts as a natural fly-way for the migratory birds. The highly protected Bird Islands are a sanctuary located on private property and cannot be accessed without expressed permission from the management and property owners. Stepping onto the islands is done only by the grounds maintenance crew of the property.

Exerpt from Google Map of an area in a community bordering Estero Bay

Enlargement of the area called the Bird Islands.

During the wet season there may be a thousand birds flying in and out on a daily basis. Here is a general list of more than 30 varieties of birds which I have sighted on and around these islands. Others may have identified many more. These are all wetlands birds but other species fly near and around the islands.

  • Heron
  • Egret
  • Ibis
  • Duck
  • Thrush
  • Cormorant
  • Predatory birds

The islands provide local birders and wild life enthusiasts an opportunity to watch and enjoy the busy birds flying, competing, feeding, migrating and all of the activities for which the birds are known*.

The birds use all of the microenvironments on the islands from the tree tops to the swampy edges.

The birds congregate on the Bird Islands. The birds can carry out most of their activities in daily living except eating. Eating is no problem because they can easily fly to fertile areas along the slough and to the glades, shores and bodies of water well within easy distance. The additional important aspect to these places as islands is the absence of ground based predators. The birds, eggs, and chicks are vulnerable to predation by raccoons, black rats (Palm Rats), snakes, and the plethora of other ground based animals. These are missing on the islands because they are unapproachable without swimming. across the lake.

Here are some examples of the everyday bird activities on these islands.

Getting ready to nest for the night
Finding a nesting site before sundown
Great Blue Heron flying off to forage for food while the flightless chicks wait. Those little ones are not so little.
Great White Egret feeding the chicks in one of the hundreds of nests.
No privacy for mating on this island
A little crowded here on this island for the white Ibis. Sorry all the spaces are taken here!

The secondary predators are attracted to all these birds like a magnet. The alligators are attracted to these predators. The alligators eat the predating animals which in turn supports their grow to substantial size. The birds seek out the areas that are protected by the alligators. Bird droppings are rich in nitrogen and other plant nutrients therefore these areas have lush growth of native plants. This becomes a mutually supportive cycle.

  • There are other places in Florida that exhibit similar nesting activities. One of the best of them is publicly accessible. Please go to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanible Island, Florida.

See a following blog “The Beauty and the Beast”

My best reference for bird identification is Cornel Labs at All About Birds.

#predator #birds #islands # sanctuary #Apex animal #Key Stone animal #isolation #limited access #migration #route #slough #bird activities

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