Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Chesapeake Bay Field Office Instructs Maryland Port Administration on Minimizing Impacts to Nesting Birds
Northeast Region, June 10, 2012
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Examples of colonial waterbirds and their nests.
Examples of colonial waterbirds and their nests. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Examples of non-colonial waterbirds and their nests.
Examples of non-colonial waterbirds and their nests. - Photo Credit: USFWS

Many Maryland Port Administration project sites also are areas that attract nesting waterbirds. The Paul S. Sarbanes Ecological Restoration Project at Poplar Island, located in Talbot County Maryland, is one such site. This multi-year project is restoring more than 1,140 acres of island habitat with dredged material.

As more of this island is restored, wildlife, including many colonial waterbirds, are using this island for nesting. In order to protect these birds during the nesting season while construction continues, biologists Chris Guy and Pete McGowan gave a presentation to staff of Maryland Port Administration on how operators and crew can recognize common nesting behavior in birds, and what should they do if the suspect nesting in the work area.

The original presentation was given on Poplar Island crew in March 2012 to approximately 75 people. It was so well received, they were asked to give another presentation for the other Maryland Port Authority facilities near Baltimore, Maryland.

The second presentation was given at Masonville Environmental Center in Baltimore June 10, 2012 to approximately 20 people. Organizations included Baltimore District Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Port Authority, Maryland Environmental Service, and a contractor for The Army Corps of Engineers.

Common nesting behavior covered in the presentation included: large concentrations of birds in a given area (on ground and in the air); birds staying tight on in an area, reluctant to take flight or leave when approached; excessive vocalization when approached; and false displays such as being wounded or acting as though nesting when flushed. They were also instructed on laws protecting migratory birds, who to contact if nesting is suspected, how to survey an area for nests, and marking an area to be avoided while nesting occurs.

For more information contact:
Chris Guy

Pete McGowan

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov
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