Farmingville, NY - Recently, staff from the Town of Brookhaven Division of Environmental Protection visited West Inlet Island in Moriches Bay to post signs alerting the public to its fragile nature and noting that it is illegal to disturb the nesting birds. The island serves as a natural breeding place for a variety of colonial nesting waterbird species, including Great Black-Backed Gulls and Herring Gulls, which are among the most common colonial waterbirds on Town-owned islands. Others include the American Oystercatcher, a shorebird with a long, flat, orange bill that eats shellfish, Common Terns, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron and Black-Crowned Night Heron. The Town Code generally restricts entry on to the islands during the colonial waterbird breeding season between mid-May and mid-August. Pictured at left is a Herring Gull egg and chick and at right is a Town environmental specialist installing a new sign on West Inlet Island.Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “Our Town of Brookhaven environmental staff takes great pride in their stewardship of our natural resources and they are dedicated to preserve and protect these 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.”The Town of Brookhaven owns a number of islands in north shore harbors and south shore bays that are important wildlife habitats While boats cruising along the shoreline do not generally disrupt the bird colonies, introducing dogs to the site can cause significant damage, so it is especially important that no dogs be brought to the islands. The damage is not always obvious; one problem is that when birds that are disturbed leave their eggs or nestlings, they are very vulnerable to predators including the gulls that nest on the island. For more information about the Town’s environmental efforts, go to the Town’s website.
Division of Public Information * Office of the SupervisorOne Independence Hill • Farmingville • NY 11738 • Phone 631-451-6595