SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Throwing rock at Soras-what a shame

Yesterday I arrived fortuitously at the wetland where I have been following the rails while the sewer district employees were there (the wetland is actually an old sewer lagoon that has been inactive for years). These two employees were tossing granules onto the wetland to kill mosquito larva (non-toxic per studies).

Since one of them was right near where the Sora hatchlings were, the adult Sora's were calling madly, giving their whinny call repeatively and loudly clearly in distress. As I walked closer I saw the younger employee throw a rock right into the area where the Sora hatchlings had been. I yelled "hey, what are you doing?" He said he was putting the mosquito granules in the wetland but admitted he had thrown a rock where I confronted him with size of the object I saw him throw. He explained that he thought there were ducks in the reeds and he threw the rock in so he could see them!

This is an awful way to get to view ducks or other critters since they can be injured by the object being thrown at them. In fact, the rock this guy threw was as big as the Sora hatchlings so could have killed one if it had been hit. I told this employee that these were rails with babies, which of course he didn't even know what they were. I also told him that these birds were protected by the Int Migratory Bird Treaty. He seemed regretful. I also explained all this to his supervisor and asked that they do what they could to avoid disturbing these birds. He said they were in there monthly during summer months and that they could just throw the granules onto the vegetation near the shore so as to disturb the birds less.

I stayed around while these guys were nearby just in case. I saw several Virginia Rail hatchlings (they are growing rapidly and are quite a bit taller and larger than when I last saw them) but no Sora hatchlings (actually I stayed away from where they had been to let them settle down) They did quiet down but when an airplane flew overhead the Soras called repetitively (so it seems that the loud noise of airplanes does set them off). Since these poor birds had already suffered far too much distress, I took this photo to show these guys what these birds look like and left as soon as these guys moved further away. I didn't go back today either as I thought it best to let them recover from their traumatic experience with humans before I returned.


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