Every year, more than twenty species of terns, gulls, and colonial wading birds raise their young on rookery islands all along the Gulf Coast. Their breeding and nesting activities go on in the wake of passing oil tankers, commercial fishing vessels, and pleasure boats of all kinds--human traffic that threatens their already circumscribed habitats. John C. Dyes has spent more than ten years photographing and observing the birds in their rookeries on the Texas Coast, and, in Nesting Birds of the Coastal Islands, he presents a year in the birds' life through fine photographs and an evocative and informative text. In a month-by-month account, he follows the annual rituals and daily dramas of courtship, mating, and chick rearing among herons, egrets, spoonbills, cormorants, ibises, and other birds that migrate and gather in colonies ranging from half a dozen birds to tens of thousands. Interspersed throughout the text are species descriptions to help aid identification. Dyes also discusses the bird-human history of the area, describing the near-extinctions caused by plume hunters a century ago and the serious modern threats posed by industrial and recreational uses of Galveston Bay, as well as contemporary efforts by the National Audubon Society and other groups to preserve the bird islands as avian sanctuaries. If wading birds are to survive in the Galveston Bay area, their need for undisturbed habitats in which to live and breed must be known and respected by the human species. Nesting Birds of the Coastal Islands will make an informative and enjoyable contribution to that knowledge.
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