Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Feeding the birds - Is it a good idea?

     One of the things that I noticed while counting this spring was,  people feeding the birds; the swans, the geese, the ducks and the gulls.  Of course, most of us realize that we shouldn't do that anymore but do we really know why?  I see the signs posted by the Town, yet I still see families come walking down the path , clutching their bags of white bread and throwing pieces out to the waiting birds. Is it such a bad thing?  Don't the birds need us to feed them?  Aren't they only better off from us doing this for them?


     Well, the short answer is STOP IT!!!  No, the birds do not benefit from eating white bread (or any bread, actually!).  




  

   Have you ever seen any of the water birds looking like the ones above?  You may even feel bad for them and you just know in your heart that they're not going to make it.  They'll probably be dead soon because obviously they have something wrong with them.  What happened to them?


     What happened is that people have been feeding them!  Instead of them eating what nature has dictated they should consume (pond grasses), they've been gorging on bread, crackers, cookies and other totally non-nutritious foods that are robbing their bodies of the minerals and vitamins they require to be healthy!  Most of these birds were young when they started being fed by people. They never received the proper nutrition to enable their bones and joints to form properly.  The result is called "Angel Wing" , "Slipped Wing" or "Crooked Wing" and it always results in the bird's early death.  The condition itself is not fatal, but the bird can no longer fly, and thus no longer able to escape predators.  And unless they live on an island very, very far from shore (that a predator would never be able to swim to), this bird is a walking time bomb.  There is absolutely no cure or treatment that will enable these birds to heal.


     I'm guilty of feeding birds.  When I was a child, we would always go to the park or the beach and feed whatever birds happened to be around.  And then I started studying Environmental Science and learned that we can really kill something with kindness.  I'm so very grateful that we now have this enlightened awareness of how our actions can impact our environment.  While I was growing up, we never considered the consequences.  We truly believed we were doing the right thing.  Now, we know better!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Over For Another Year


Well, we've finished for another year!  We had a pretty successful year of counting.  While it wasn't the busiest year we've ever had, it was much better than a lot of the previous years of counting.  We counted over 6,000 fish and that puts it in third place overall!  We did have some weather challenges with having a very cold winter and spring, but the fish did eventually come through!


So, thank you to everyone who helped out this year.  We somehow managed to fill most of the counting slots.  The final numbers have been sent off to the folks at Fish & Wildlife and I am anxiously awaiting the grand total.  I will definitely post the overall total as soon as I receive it!


Until next year...

Monday, May 12, 2014

One of our counters has a brother who is an amazing photographer and I just had to share these pictures with you!







His name is Robert Kelley and his sister is Betsey Godley, one of our counters.  They were so fantastic, I just had to share!!!


And, the fish are still coming!  The warm weather from the last 2 days has really spurred them on, so hopefully they'll keep coming.  We are on day 34 and we could have another couple of weeks to go.  So, if you want to go enjoy the beautiful weather we're having and want to do something useful, please look at the schedule and sign up for some of those open hours!!


And thank you Betsey for these unbelievable pictures!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hi Counters!

I made an update on the chart for the year-to-year comparisons and you can see that we are right in line with the past 3 years.


We think that the Alewives have moved on through and now we're getting the Bluebacks.  On a really warm and sunny day, the fish are really coming up the river, so pray for warm weather for the rest of the week!!

Please check out the schedule and if you happen to have some free time this week and weekend, feel free to let us know if you can count!  And thank you so much for all of your hard work!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fellow Counters:  We have some openings coming up later this week.  Please check the schedule and let me know if you can take any slots.  Thanks for all your work on this project.

On a good note the Town of Barnstable has approved funds for the design of a new Fish Ladder for our run here at Rt. 28 & Rt. 149.  The ladder and dam took a beating this winter and we look forward to replacing this structure that dates back to the 1970's.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Three Bays website back up and we need to rewrite the Herring count blog.  If you have any photos that you would like to share please email them to info@3bays.org and we will add them to the new site. Thank you for your efforts counting and lets hope for a strong run.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

They are definitely here!!

    We are having such a great run this year!  Let's keep our fingers crossed that it continues! All of the counters have been great and the fish look healthy and big!  
Fish in the run
Taken by Rhonda Lockwood


Comparison Chart from 2012-2014
     So, I put together a chart that shows how very different the runs are from year to year.  You can just never tell how it's going to go.  The weather is such a determining factor in how many fish come up the river and when they make their long trek.  If you remember, 2012 was a banner year for us.  The run started really early because we had such a glorious spring!  But, then we took a little 2 week vacation because the weather turned so cold.  When the fish did come back, they came back with a vengeance.
    In 2013, we had a very slow start but it built up to a great run in about 3 weeks.  This year, the fish have come in big numbers right from the start.  So, it's going to be interesting to see what develops this year.  The weather is supposed to get cold this week and I even heard rumors of snow on Wednesday!!  Keep your fingers crossed and Happy Counting!!
    We do have quite a few empty counting slots beginning this weekend, so look over the schedule and see if you can fill any of them in.