Birds of a different feather flock together
Our region is home to many species of birds, many of which choose to nest on an island off the lower Cape Fear River.
“There is abundant food here in the lower Cape, and most of these birds feed on fish,” said Walker Golder of the NC Audubon Society.
Thousands of birds flock to Ferry Slip Island to nest and nurture their young.
“The island doesn’t have human disturbance or predators, that’s the key to why the birds are here, and why they are thriving,” Golder said.
Many of the birds are sand nesting birds, which is why you’ll find them right along the coastline. But pelicans, they prefer to nest in vegetation, which is why you’ll find them deeper in on Bird Island, as it as also called.
“The island is a critical nesting habitat for birds like brown pelicans, royal turns, sandwich turns, laughing gulls,” Golder explained.
Bird Island is man-made, created by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The sand and sludge dredged out of the Cape Fear River makes up the core of the island. New sand is added every few years to fight erosion.
The Audubon Society tries to keep the size of the island fairly small. The smaller it is, the less likely it is for predators and human life to discover it, and threaten the species there.
“Right now, if a raccoon for to get out here, he could make a living for a while, but during the off season, there are very few birds here at all,” Golder said.
The nesting season on Bird Island usually lasts from April through August.
It is illegal for the public to roam the island anytime during the year.
North Carolina Wildlife and the Audubon Society patrol it daily.
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