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> Issue 26 > Page 51 - Regarding the Birds of the Bird Islands

Page 51 - Regarding the Birds of the Bird Islands

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/8/1 (205 reads)

Dan: And I wonder if it was that suddenly. I can't see 130 birds this year and none last year. The Bird Society saw them late last June; we didn't see any in early June. Dave: But they didn't see many last year. Dan: But there is definitely a colony there now. Dave: And quite a sizeable one. (And there was not one when Bayley was there in 1925. Are they rare in all of Nova Scotia?) Oh, definitely. Green Rock near Gabarus, up till this one, was the only colony we knew of. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, (In 1925, Bayley says it "visits the islands occasionally ,,,do not breed here,") Dave: Take his thousands of Puffins and you've got his Black-backed Gulls, They are now every? where. And Herring Gulls are everywhere. (Again Bayley: "Herring Gulls may be oc? casionally met as visitors to the islands. These breed in spruce trees at Morien Head, some 40 miles away." Maybe that's what drove down the Puffins.) Dave: You can't say that. Dan: Seagulls have increased everywhere. Seagulls are trash birds and we feed them and we don't kill them-- they've got an ideal habitat. Dave: Sea? gulls and raccoons get along very well with men. Dan: One drive to the Baddeck dump in the middle of winter will convince you of that. (And in 1925?) Dan: There wasn't the garbage--people used their gar? bage. Dave: More people composting it then, feeding pigs. Dan: And they didn't have the concentrated dumps. What little dumps they had weren't worth a Seagull's finding it. (Imagine. And they weren't nesting there at all in 1925.) Dan: They are nesting there in, well, I wouldn't say thousands-- but I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong. Dave: I wouldn't be surprised, a couple of thousand there, (When walking up on top, it's very difficult to avoid stepping on a Gull's egg or a young Gull. It seemed last year they were everywhere up on top, in the tall grass, not much of an attempt to make a nest.) Dan: All you can say about Gulls is that they are opportunistic feed? ers and they breed on- many islands and points. Dave: Semi-isolated areas. (Bayley says of the ARCTIC TERN that they "nest by the hundreds on Hertford Island and also on the high table islet between the two main islands, laying 3 to 5 beau? tifully mottled eggs in soft hollows which they have made in the fine dry grass....It is necessary to walk avoid stepping on their eggs,,,probably more than one thousand pairs nesting,,,.") Dan: That's probably what's been taken over by the Seagulls. You can almost bet on it. And now you have to walk carefully to a- void stepping on the Gulls' eggs. And that's happened in a lot of places--the Seagulls have taken over Tern colonies, (Are there Terns there at all now?) No. Not that we know of. LEACH'S PETREL, Dave: One's a Leach's and one's a Wilson's--the two are very diffi? cult to distinguish. Dan: I call them Storm Petrel. Dave: But it doesn't matter which one you're talking about, I haven't seen them on those islands and I'd be sur? prised now, with the type of habitat that Petrels I know use, that they'd be there. Petrels, where I've seen them, nest on is? lands where there are small spruce trees-- Ivan Bayley, N. Sydney, and friends picnicking on Bird Islands, 1899 (note " trees); Bayley in later years. (51)
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