Working with Audubon New York, the Town of Brookhaven recently installed signs on islands in South Shore bays to alert the public of their fragile nature and note that it is illegal to disturb nesting birds.
Boaters do not necessarily pose a threat to the bird colonies that make the islands their home, but dogs can cause significant damage if they are brought to the islands. Frightened birds might leave their eggs or nestlings making them vulnerable to predators.
A nest of Herring Gull eggs. Photo: Town of Brookhaven.
The Town of Brookhaven owns islands in North Shore harbors and South Shore bays that are important wildlife habitats. The islands serve as a natural breeding place for a variety of colonial nesting waterbird species, including herring gull, great black-backed gull, lesser terns, glossy ibis, great egrets, herons and ducks. Town Code restricts entry on John Boyles Island, East Island, West Island, New Made Island and Carter's Island during the colonial waterbird breeding season between mid-May and mid-August.
Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine said that the Town’s environmental staff takes pride in their stewardship of the natural resources around the region and are dedicated to preserve and protect sensitive wildlife habitats.
“If you come across a nesting place, please keep your distance and do not disturb the site or any animals raising their young,” said Romaine.