US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

This job is, literally, for the birds!

Published Sept. 5, 2014
With proper management and planning, human progress can co-exist with the nurturing of precious wildlife.

With proper management and planning, human progress can co-exist with the nurturing of precious wildlife.

Caspian Tern adults with chicks.

Caspian Tern adults with chicks.

Caspian Tern adults with chicks.

Caspian Tern adults with chicks.

A Caspian Tern chick close to fledging (flying).

A Caspian Tern chick close to fledging (flying).

With proper management and planning, human progress can co-exist with the nurturing of precious wildlife.

With proper management and planning, human progress can co-exist with the nurturing of precious wildlife.

There’s record-breaking breeding success in Florida with Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks on DMPF 3-D.  We will likely fledge upwards of 200 ducks!

There’s record-breaking breeding success in Florida with Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks on DMPF 3-D. We will likely fledge upwards of 200 ducks!

Another important species that nested successfully on DMPF-3D is the American Oystercatcher, considered a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The chick pictured here just recently fledged; he can fly!

Another important species that nested successfully on DMPF-3D is the American Oystercatcher, considered a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The chick pictured here just recently fledged; he can fly!

It’s still dark before first light brushes the sky; I’m on a boat headed towards an island.  As I get closer, an almost prehistoric call assails mine and my companion’s ears and alerts us to the wonders of this island. 

I am not describing some exotic vacation adventure promising journeys into the unknowns of the natural world.  I’m a bird monitor headed for the dike raising project on Dredge Material Placement Facility-3D.  That prehistoric sound was the call of many Caspian Terns guarding their young at one of this year’s two successful nesting colonies on DMPF-3D! 

I want to tell you a bit about the bird nesting that has been absolutely fantastic this year!

The Caspian Tern is the world’s largest tern, and although distributed worldwide, Florida has only five documented nesting locations, one of which is DMPF- 3D!  The excellent cooperation from all workers in strictly following the many management tools has given us glorious success.