Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I'm not the only one that writes about this travesty. Heres a post I've copied with permission of the author and worth a read!

"This is embarrassing. The scientific community should be ashamed.

This group of scientists is so inbred if some of its’ members would have children together physicians would probably warn them of the risk of birth defects. If this isn’t collusion what is? This "independent review" is the equivalent of a bunch of elementary school children grading each others papers. ("hey look we all got "A"s)

This is a group made up of exclusively "bird people" who see everything through the prism of birds. The problem is the park was created for the enjoyment and recreation of the people. Not just a select group, but all the people. And that means multiple forms of recreation, not just bird watching. What these people and their obsession remind me of is when in the movie "Forrest Gump" Forrest meets the Mississippi shrimper Bubba. Bubba is obsessed with shrimp and shrimping, and everything he seeing he somehow relates to and of shrimp and shrimping. So it is with our bird friend "Bubbas".

By their own admission in the USGS report there were ZERO nesting plovers reported in CHNSRA from 1902-1960. This included a time period in which plover population rebounded in the 1940’s and there was no development on the Outer Banks. Why no nesting? Obviously the conditions naturally present, provided very marginal nesting conditions compared to the prefered areas to the north. They then refer to 4 nesting pairs in the park by 1984 with their numbers peaking in 1989 at 15 pairs with nesting pairs declining since. Let me connect some dots for the birders. They also mention in this report how the Northeastern population went into decline until efforts were put in place during the 1980’s to improve their natural/native nesting areas in the Northeast. I’ll go slow birders, when one nesting area gets compromised/degraded, the birds are likely to emigrate to other nesting grounds (Cohen August 2009), so with development in the 1950s-70’s in the Northeast areas, the birds expanded their nesting grounds to what is naturally less desirable/productive nesting areas, like CHNSRA. When the preferred natural nesting areas further north were upgraded, they emigrated back, reducing the nesting population in CHNSRA. If you look at the big picture it’s pretty obvious. The base number of nesting population of plovers at CHNSRA is ZERO!

The lead author of this "report" Jonathan Cohen published some more recent science (as cited above) where he talks about populations emigrating from one nesting area to another. He also talks about the removal of grasses and creation/restoration of quality habitat including using beach nourishment projects. This is not unlike proposals "pro access" people have been suggesting for years at the point. This study also starts out with an interesting comment

"The threatened population of Atlantic Coast piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) has increased under intensive management of predation and disturbance. However, the relative importance of habitat quality, nest predation, and chick predation in population dynamics and reproductive success of this species are poorly understood."


Cohen makes another observation of note in his August 2009 study: "Restored breeding sites that attract plovers will not contribute to overall population recovery if reproductive success is poor and such sites may become ecological traps (i.e., locations where settlement cues are not coupled with fitness benefits; Robertson and Hutto 2006)."

In other words, we may be doing more harm than good for the plovers by trying to attract them to nest in an area that is naturally not productive for them. We might better their success by discouraging nesting at CHNSRA so that they will emigrate further north to areas where they would naturally have better reproductive success. How does this get glossed over?

Also missing in the USGS report is the little known actions taken by none other than Walker Golder and the NC Audubon during the late 1980’s-90 to use audible calls and decoys to encourage the very birds they cite as being in decline to nest on dredge spoils. By simply moving the nesting location a few hundred yards all the birds drawn to the spoils from the park reduce the nesting counts in the park! Little information is available about this action.

This is a disgrace and the "science" should be scrapped. This almost makes "Vogelsong" look credible. Bottom line, the CHNSRA was formed for the people and the management of it should be directed by the people and not some "bird politburo"."

Thanks Denny!

The contents of this post and a whole lot more can be found at:

Tight Lines,


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