St. John Audubon Society members spruced up Frank Bay Pond on Friday, November 2, and made life a little easier for feathered friends who call the small bird sanctuary home.
The members installed four nesting and resting platforms in the pond made from PVC and other durable materials, explained St. John Audubon Society president Laurel Brannick-Bigrig.
“We got the idea for the design from an ornithologist who consulted with our group,” said Brannick-Bigrig. “The platforms will be safe places for the birds to rest and nest (away) from predators like neighborhood cats and dogs who have previously gotten into their nests. We’ve had problems in the past especially with the black neck stilts’ nests getting disturbed.”
Birders Terry and Chuck Pishko, Ed and CJ Wilson, Elaine Estern and Brannick-Bigrig spent Friday morning trimming the bush surrounding the pond and securing the platforms with cement blocks. Ed Wilson kayaked around the pond and placed the platforms with direction from his wife CJ and Brannick-Bigrig on land.
Birds in the area used a moored surfboard as a platform in the past and St. John Audubon Society members decided to leave the surfboard in place, according to Brannick-Bigrig.
“The birds use the surfboard and they like it, so we thought we’d just give them more choices with the additional platforms,” she said. “We’re going to monitor all of the nesting and resting areas to see which birds use which ones. Information we gather could help other groups who want to install platforms to see what works best.”
The Frank Bay Pond is a valuable resource for the island, Brannick-Bigrig added.
“With all the development going on, to have a natural area like this is nice,” she said. “It’s close enough to town so school kids can come down here and tourists can stop down who want to see birds but don’t have the time to get all the way to Francis Bay.”