Help Needed. And a Question for Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Help Needed. And a Question for Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida

What’s Up?

Both of my B&H Event Space programs went very well. That they recently added a huge LCD screen at the front (that match the several on the side of the room) led to vastly increased enjoyment of the images. Huge thanks to B&H’s David Brommer for having me. The were a very few empty seats for the TC program; the Putting Art in Your Nature Photography show was a complete sellout. Both programs will be available online but it usually takes several months to get them prepared.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 274 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


This Roseate Spoonbill image was made at Sunken Island Cove, Alafia Banks, with the 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS1D Mark III camera body. This yielded an effective focal length of 1568mm (31.4X magnification). I would guess that James Shadle and I were about 100 feet from the birds. Audubon Florida is requesting “a 100-foot buffer zone, extended across the mouths of the Bird Island and Sunken Island Coves, to provide a safe and quiet area of no-entry, except by sanctuary staff conducting bird census, monitoring, or management activities.” (Please note my wry smile at the exceptions.) The extended across the mouths of the Bird Island and Sunken Island Coves would prevent photographers from approaching within about 300 feet of the sandbar at Sunken Island.

Roseate Spoonbill sky-pointing

Your Help Needed

In lieu of the information below–please be sure to read the whole thing–and then click here and sign the petition. Signing will take well less than a minute.

Why should everyone sign it? There are lots of reasons:

The Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC), in conjunction with (and surely encouraged by) Audubon Florida, want to impose up to 300 feet of boundaries around 20 existing Critical Wildlife Areas (CWA). The boundaries would negatively affect the quiet enjoyment of nature by licensed touring companies, photographers, birders, recreational kayakers, educators, and others interested in Florida wildlife.

No one involved has provided any scientific data supporting the benefits of increased boundaries. In fact, the FWC/Audubon wildlife species survey shows an increase in wildlife population at numerous Critical Wildlife Areas.

Below are some examples (based on estimates of the number of nesting pairs, by species, made by Florida Audubon via direct counts and flight-line surveys) at Alafia Banks, the area of my primary concern.

White Ibis in 2004: 7,750. In 2014: 4,650. In 2015: 11,000.
Roseate Spoonbill in 2011: 190 (a precipitous drop from the previous 7-year average of 322). In 2015: 190.
Brown Pelican in 2004: 310. In 2014: 190. In 2015: 350.
Tricolored Heron in 2008: 90. In 2015: 165.
Total pairs in 2004: 9,724. Total pairs in 2014: 5,927. Total pairs in 2015: 12,440.

Yet Ann Paul, Regional Coordinator of Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries, and Mark Rachal, Sanctuary Manager, write in part:

For more than 75 years, Audubon wardens in Tampa Bay have been the keepers of these special places. At first, we protected them from the plume trade and harvest for food that almost drove these birds to extinction. But today, these nesting birds face a new and unexpected threat: catastrophic disturbance by nature photographers. And worse, a few unscrupulous tour leaders in Tampa Bay are giving nature photography a bad name, and threatening the future of our area’s vibrant waterbird colonies.

You might think “how much damage can one photographer do?” The impacts are cumulative and substantial. Some nature photographers lead customers on photo “safaris,” including vulnerable nesting colonies among their destinations. With clients in tow, some paying $450 per day to be escorted to prime sites, these tour operators are becoming serial disturbers.

How in the world any sane person could look at Audubon Florida’s own data and talk about catastrophic disturbance by nature photographers is far beyond me. And I would love to know what in the world the cost of a day on a pontoon boat has to do with anything. And I am curious as to the annual salary of Eric Draper, the Executive Director of Audubon Florida… See more on Mr. Draper below.

Most telling are the recent increase in the number of nesting Brown Pelican pairs. The White Ibises and spoonbills nest deep in the mangroves where they can only be disturbed by the researchers on their banding and counting forays. The pelicans, however, nest on the periphery of the island where one might think that they would be subject to disturbance by photographers in the water. Yet there numbers have increased…

Note also that most of the species in questions nest quite successfully in extremely close proximity to humans including dozens of nature photographers each day at Gatorland and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The stork have been doing great at both of these locations for many years and spoonbill numbers at St. Augustine have been increasing in recent years.

Interestingly enough, Mark Rachal (via personal comment to James Shadle) has stated that he is comfortable with a 50 foot buffer for photographers. And now Audubon is asking for 100-300 foot buffers…

James Shadle and Alafia Banks

My good friend James Shadle, a co-founder of Bird Photographer’s.Net, has taken more folks to Alafia Banks to photograph the spoonbills than all other operators combined multiplied by ten. In an e-mail to Ann Paul on March 11, 2015, I wrote:

I hope that you know down deep that both of us (James Shadle and I) are the good guys but I realize that I may very well be wrong. Speaking for myself, I know that I have followed the letter of the law for more than 30 years. I follow the rules, I don’t enter closed areas, I do my best to keep any disturbance that I might cause to an absolute minimum. If I see folks doing the wrong thing, I open my mouth and/or photograph them and their license plates (or their boats) and notify the authorities. I firmly believe that nature photographers who do the wrong thing should be cited and punished.

I know that James feels pretty much the same way on all of the above. We both teach folks how to approach the birds unobtrusively. He has cautioned many trespassing fisherman and yes, even picnickers on the island over the years. In the past he has offered to remove both old tires and non-native vegetation during the off season. His generous offers of help were turned down. We both offered to accompany an Audubon crew onto the island (on a banding landing) during nesting season to photograph the chicks and the survey operation and to then donate the images to Audubon. That offer was also turned down. One might assume that the powers that be at Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuary Audubon did not want us to see what goes on. Our offer still stands. As you know, I donated images to the federal folks managing Egmont Key after you and (late husband) Rich kindly arranged for me to visit a few years back.

I would be more than glad to donate images created at Alafia that would meet your needs. Let me know what they are and whether you need the images for web or for print and if the latter, what size. And I am positive that James would be glad to donate images that would help you get your message out. Similarly, I would be glad to publicize any important events for your group. My blog gets more than 3,000 visitors/day and enjoys about 15,500,000 page views annually.

Ann never responded to my e-mail.

If there are any factual errors above, I invite anyone from Florida Audubon to either leave a comment or to contact me via e-mail.

From Rob Christy via e-mail:

Last Mothers Day, while photographing at Coffee Pot Bayou near St. pete, we were quietly in position about 30 feet from the island in my 19 foot flats boat. We changed position depending on the bird’s activity with my electric trolling motor. All of a sudden a large touring vessel, the Dolphin Queen, shows up with Ann Paul on the ship’s PA system. At the time I had no idea who the person yelling at us was. I discovered later that it was Ann because I looked at the Dolphin Queen’s Facebook page when I got home. Apparently this Mothers Day trip is run every year by the St. Pete Audubon Society with Ann doing the narration. I could kick myself for not making a video of what happened with my I Phone. I guess that I was so shocked and surprised by what happened as when I had been out there in the past we would frequently always see the Dolphin Queen at close range without incident.

A Question for Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida

Here is my question for Mr. Draper:

Why did you choose not to respond to the letter below, sent to you via e-mail by Rob Christy last spring? (Rob’s e-mail below has been amended slightly without changing his meaning or intent.)

Dear Mr. Draper,

To introduce ourselves; we are a small group of experienced wildlife photographers who have published work in BBC Earth and National Geographic among others. One of our group members, is the long -time President of the Venice Camera Club. All of us have won many awards for our Florida wildlife images including Audubon Society contests.

Last Sunday (Mothers’ Day) we were aboard a small 18 foot boat which encountered your tour at the Coffee Pot Bayou on the chartered Dolphin Queen. We have been to this rookery many times taking photographs while not disturbing the wildlife. Oftentimes, the Dolphin Queen has been cruising around the island as well- until now, there had never been an issue.

On Sunday, we were quietly floating as always and only occasionally repositioned our boat with a noiseless electric trolling motor. In fact, we moved it closer to the island to make way for the 44 foot Dolphin Queen.

Unfortunately the peaceful silence was suddenly interrupted by the Dolphin Queen’s repeated passes while spewing obnoxious exhaust fumes. The noise from its loud combustion-engine and the screeching voice of the narrator caused a disturbing upheaval throughout the nesting bird colony.

To our surprise, Ann Paul, the narrator at the time, started to make rude and unjustified remarks about us and accused us of moving to close to the island and not caring about the wildlife. We were strongly offended by Ann Paul’s unprofessional and disrespectful behavior; she unwarrantedly vilified us and turned the boat’s passengers against us in a most insulting and vulgar manner.

We feel that you should be aware of the nature of this individual and her insulting behavior. Hopefully this was an isolated incidence and we can continue to recommend the Dolphin Queen again to our friends, families, and clients.

Thank you for your attention.

Rob Christy

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49 comments to Help Needed. And a Question for Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida

  • Just to offer another opinion here, I think the CWAs are a good idea and FWC should be applauded for taking this step to offer further protections for nesting birds. I was previously a spoonbill researcher in the Everglades and I’m a professional wildlife photographer, so I feel like I have a pretty good perspective in this matter. There is no single disposition for a given species; they’re individuals and I’ve seen it first hand. Some birds accept crowded places like the Alligator Farm and have no issue with raising young near people and other birds nest on islands to be away from people and other potential predators. Birds also move colonies and we’re not always sure why, it’s a tough science to nail down. As you mentioned, there are many issues facing wading birds and other nesting birds: habitat destruction, encroachment, poor air and water quality, and even climate change. The goal here with the CWAs is to try and limit or remove one of the many stress factors for some birds. I think regardless of where you stand on this issue, the CWAs are not bad for birds, they’re just inconvenient for people, especially tour groups trying to photograph them, or those who want to let their dogs run and swim around coastal islands. We as wildlife photographers should get excited about any steps aimed at protecting these animals, even if it means we have to bring bigger glass or go to another area where they’re more accustomed to people. I realize this idea might be unpopular here, but what if it works? What if it works and more birds come back? Isn’t it worth trying?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mac, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If they want to remove the greatest stress on the colonies, why do they not cease their banding operations? The researchers cause more disturbance on a single visit than all the photographers combined in an entire season. All for the purpose of getting their names on published papers or college theses. The “authorities” cannot enforce the present buffer zones. As I have said elsewhere, I would strongly support a signed 50-foot buffer that could be enforced. If they expand the buffer zones at least Ann Paul will have more folks to scream at.


      • Artie, I’m still somewhat cued in to the spoonbill research there and they haven’t banded birds in years on Alafia and do their monitoring from the water. No one is trying to get famous with that kind of work, it’s thankless, you know that, and I know it because I did it for three years. The buffers are set to be 100 feet, what’s another 50 feet past what you are comfortable with? As a wildlife photographer I’m privileged there are places I’m allowed to go with cameras to make images that help impact conservation for the greater good. There are plenty of places I’m not allowed to go, unless accompanied by a state biologist. I go through those difficult permitting processes if I really want to make an image as part of a greater coverage. I’m not upset by that, it’s just part of our profession and the balance we respect with land and wildlife management professionals. I really think you and your groups should support this. In the end it’s a net positive for the birds.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Again Mac, My understanding was that they were banding there at least once a year. Twice when they were definitely banding James Shadle and I volunteered to accompany the banding party, photograph the event, and donate the images. Both times we were turned down. Please tell me why you think that happened?

          Your phrase “unless accompanied by a state biologist puts a smile on my face; aren’t double standards wonderful.

          Here is another question I would love for you to answer: given the fact that Ann Paul has screamed at folks doing nothing wrong; given the fact that Ann Paul has said to me on more than one occasion, “You are not doing anything wrong but I want you to move;” and given the fact that Ann Paul constantly uses the phrase “catastrophic declines in wading bird populations” while her own data shows that not to be the case at all; and given the fact that she blames those declines on “unscrupulous tour leaders in Tampa Bay… with clients in tow, some paying $450 per day to be escorted to prime sites, these tour operators are becoming serial disturbers,” would think that perhaps there is a personal agenda/vendetta in place?

          I certainly do. What the heck does how much a tour leader is earning have to do with anything. If folks are doing something wrong, they should be cited.

          You ask, “What’s another 50 feet?” The next 100 feet. And the complete and closing of more great places for nature photography.

          respectfully, artie

          • Hi Artie, thanks for writing back.


            Audubon is not banding there and hasn’t for several years. I can’t speak for them, so I don’t know why you were turned down to visit and photograph the colony.

            They did not want us to see the disturbance that they cause.

            I do know when I would band and monitor nests, we turned down several people to come along simply because the goal is to get out as soon as possible after collecting data, minimizing any disturbance. Doing that work is complicated and difficult on its own without extra bodies.

            See above. Also, I failed to take you to task for something that you wrote in your first comment: “They do their counts from the water.” You can I both know that that is patently ridiculous as both the spoonbills and the ibises nest in the dense centers of the mangroves. In 25 trips to Alafia I have maybe seen two spoonbill nests. So they are not counting 10,000 ibis nests or several hundred spoonbill nests from the water.

            I’m not sure what double standard you meant, but going with a wildlife biologist in certain circumstances for wildlife is absolutely essential, especially with nesting birds.

            Maybe this story will help you understand. A guy sitting behind me saw bird pictures on my laptop. He shared some images from South Georgia with me. We were headed somewhere way down south. I looked at the images for ten seconds and said to him, “So you are a researcher.” He said “Yeah.” How did I know: he had fish shots of nests with threatened albatross species. With the chicks large in the frame.” So by a double standard, I mean that it it OK for A to do it but not for B to do it. After 33 years I have learned a bit about wildlife. A different way of asking the same question: who’s policing the police?

            They can read the cues of the birds without the subjectivity of looking through a lens and the need for an image or paying client.

            So can you and so can I. I would never put the birds welfare in jeopardy for any reason. And I never “need” an image. I make photographs to make me happy and put a smile on folks faces. And of course as you do, to help folks see the need for protecting what we have.

            The difference between one person going on a permit and any number as frequent and often as desired is fairly evident I think. It’s just harder to manage more bodies.

            I fully understand that but it has nothing to do with the question at hand, unnecessarily large buffers.

            I can’t comment on Audubon’s policies or interactions with your friend, I don’t work for them and I don’t know what happened. I’m a wildlife photographer who thinks that there are certain areas that should have more protection, giving nature a little more space from us.

            And I am a wildlife photographer who has seen great places destroyed by anti-photographer management polices as well as by incompetent, uncaring, unimaginative management practices. And as I said previously, 100 feet this year is 200 feet next year and so on. And I am all for protecting the birds. But I get tired of Ann Paul telling me that I am too close when all the birds are sound asleep.

            You did miss my question as to whether this whole thing might be caused by a single person, i.e., Ann Paul, as a result of her personal bias or some sort of vendetta against nature photographers. What catastrophic declines? What scientific data? What proof of anything. She does not like photographers so let’s move ’em back just because. Not to mention that they cannot even enforce the boundaries that are already in place.

  • avatar Ellie Young

    I have photographed birds in Florida many times. It is the only reason I come there I would hate for that to change.

  • Hi, Artie!
    I signed the petition even though I live in India and I have never visited the birding sites you have mentioned, and may never visit them, either. I wrote:
    We have such vigilantes here, too, in India. They just want to show who’s boss, and comes from a very low self-esteem, I guess. They are also jealous of the money that photo tour leaders make from ‘our territory’!

  • avatar Ron May

    Art, I was already aware of this through other sources and have signed “the petition”. I do hope that you and others against this rather ill thought-out undertaking are successful in its defeat. Perhaps some one should make those behind it (and maybe the governor as well) aware of the “tourist” dollars that are brought into Florida by those folks who come to photograph the birds from outside the state and outside the country as well. These dollars, or a lot of them, have a significant potential to go elsewhere to a more “photographer-friendly” place.

  • avatar Ward Mitchell

    Signed and learning as we go here that sometimes we take for granted freedom to access wildlife yet the top of the food chain is really not free at all. I feel encouraged by the comments about respecting all the rules and reporting those who fail to obey the laws to protect the very thing we are honoring in the first place. The old adage about a few bad apples really is true.
    This won’t be the first or last episode of enforcement. Some people obviously feel that some type of additional regulation is deemed necessary, yet at the cost of those purists who actually police and protect what is worth fighting for. I’m just new at bird photography and have learned through this blog that proper practise and setting positive example is key critical to the survival of our passion infield. Artie, you are a strong voice for those of us who will not be heard in the noise. Thanks for lighting a warning fire when we need one and dont even know it yet…..
    I will be crestfallen to lose ground before I have even tenderly walked on it…..
    Ward Mitchell in Barrie Ontario-Ft Myers Fl.

  • avatar John Dupps

    I think Sarasota Audubon is a chapter of Florida Audubon. I’m not sure how Audubon is structured.
    It’s unfortunate that some folks seem to become demi-gods when given some authority or have limited knowledge. It’s like the “experts” who claim that flash photography hurts bird’s eyes. Any scientific data or peer reviewed literature?

  • avatar Ar

    I signed. Thank you, Artie, for addressing this issue.

    The Pinellas County Audubon made a big fuss in Pasco County about our eagle nests so now we can’t park on the side of the road to take photos (600mm minimum lens needed anyway). Because eagles can be killed by fast moving vehicles. First, it is not in their county, and second, how does banning parking on a roadside cut down on bird deaths? Wouldn’t that slow down traffic???DUH.

  • avatar Jackie Milburn

    Signed and shared!!

  • avatar Jim Boland

    I forgot to add that Least Terns and Black Skimmers nest on the rooftop of a motel at Cocoa Beach. If Audubon had their way, the area would have a 300 foot exclusion zone causing the motel to close, surrounding businesses to close, and people to move out of their residences. Oh, never mind the motel staff rescuing Least Tern chicks to fall off the roof? All of the motel is done in coordination with the Space Coast Audubon chapter.

  • avatar Henry

    They want a cut of your income from all tours you do in that area and all of this will go away….wadda ya say?

  • avatar Joel Eade

    Signed. Shame that the personal bias of a handful of people can adversely affect so many. One would think that appropriately collected and analyzed facts would be mandatory to enact such restrictions.

    I was at St. Pete and DeSoto 3 months ago and saw a Black Skimmer colony nesting right in the middle of a crowded public beach. They obviously could go anywhere but chose this site with thousands of noisey people moving around constantly. Silly hypothesis that photographers are having a devastating impact on birds.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Actually, this is all being driven by a single individual. Not sure why though…


  • avatar christy

    I believe banding and habitat destruction is a far worse “catastrophic disturbance” for a bird than photographers!!!

  • avatar Mike Ross


  • avatar Henry

    It sounds like there is an ulterior motive on the part of the authorities at work here….

  • avatar Ron Gates


  • avatar Bill Dix

    Signed. As a member of National Audubon and NJ Audubon (but not FLA Audubon) I am a firm believer in their well-directed stewardship of critical habitat. But there are times when policies or rogue personnel are misguided and unfounded. Ann Paul’s talk of “catastrophic disturbance caused my nature photographers” is certainly a case in point. Here’s another: 4 years ago I was out with James Shadle. We stayed outside the limits at all times — James was adamant about that. This was on a Saturday which happened to be the Bay Community Clean-up Day, or something with a similar name. There were folks out there in airboats, making a huge racket, racing around and running aground on the protected flats of Alafia Banks, getting out of their boats on supposedly protected land and scaring every Spoonie in sight. Not a good day for photography, and certainly not for the birds. I suppose this falls under their category of “management” which is excluded from the proposed new limits.

  • Need a town hall meeting with proof of reasoning from both sides.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I plan on attending the FWC hearing in St. Augustine, FL on September 9. Did you mean “proof or reasoning” or “proof of reasoning”?

      Either way, it is quite obvious that the Audubon side haas no data or evidence to support it claims as to Alafia Banks.


  • avatar KW MCCULLOCH

    until the do-gooders screwed up Hatteras I was always leaning toward the conservation groups and supporting them. But since around 2001 I’ve been really po’d by these fools. Who are these nazis, and where do they live?

  • avatar Rick Buckheit


    Thanks for two very informative presentations at B&H yesterday. Wear the Brooklyn in my Bones shirt in good health. Petition signed.


  • avatar Bill Coatney

    It seems Ms Paul and company have some hangups as documented in the May-June 2015 Audubon on line magazine. That bias continues–almost like it is a personal grudge.

    Offers to help FLA Audubon with the donation of world class images and sitting down to try and find common ground are turned down. Sounds like trying to obtain something by government fiat rather than by facts.

    I find it interesting that the cost of tours or photo equipment is repeatedly mentioned but no documented science is offered to show a negative impact on the area.

    Almost as if some one providing a service for a fee some how makes this a ‘class war’. As some one that is retired and on a pension, I fail to understand what the cost of a day tour has to do with anything.

    As my lawyer friends tell me
    When the facts are on your side—pound the facts
    When the law is on your side–pound the law
    When the facts and the law are against your position–pound the table

    Ms Paul is ‘pounding the table’ and let us hope she does not prevail in this matter.

  • avatar Carl Shaw

    Signed. Personally, I don’t think they know what they are doing. Look what happened to Ding and Cape May.

  • avatar Elizabeth M


  • Thank you Artie and Bob Salyers for bringing this issue forward. I’ve signed the petition, but it looks like there is a long ways to go to beat this unnecessary restriction.

  • avatar John Patton

    I signed; thanks for the heads-up. I see this problem in many areas of the country. More disturbances caused by staff and undisciplined/uneducated people than photographers.

  • Signed
    Do as I say, not as I do. I’ve encountered that attitude too many times.

  • avatar John Dupps

    The Celery fields Nature center was built by the Sarasota Audubon Society in cooperation with all the governing bodies. The site is part of the parking area. Please get facts before criticizing!!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No criticism from me. I am just trying to gat the facts, that why I ask questions. I am unsure of the relationship between Florida Audubon (which is independent from National Audubon) and Sarasota Audubon. I would assume that SA is a chapter of FLA Audubon. John, do you know


  • avatar Jim Boland

    I too signed the petition. Thanks for posting the link.

  • avatar Bob Handin

    Artie Many thanks for bringing this to my attention. I signed the petition just now. Ironic as Audubon loves to put pictures on their website, magazine and other pamphlets. they even have competitions. Where/how do they think these pictures were obtained? Best, Bob

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bob, My very favorite stuff is when the folks judging contests honor images of birds that were obviously being seriously stressed by the photographers… I guess that ignorance is bliss.


  • Signed petition earlier. Thanks for spreading the information wrt the petition.

  • Great image Arthur and thanks for making us aware of this issue….petition signed!

  • avatar Charif Loren

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Signed.

  • Artie
    I signed the petition. I have photographed in Florida numerous times and the one thing that struck me is how most of Floridas birds are VERY TOLERANT of people. I have seen Great Blue Herons standing right behind surf fishermen waiting ti steal the fish they caught or the bait

  • Thanks for your help on the important issue of restricted area rookeries.

    One should ask the Audubon society is why wasn’t a restricted area around the Celery Fields in Sarasota, FL included? Is it because they built their new facility within the bird habitat? Also, why is Corkscrew Swamp still open? Is this because this is a money maker for Audubon?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW Bob. FLA Audubon is pretty much reluctant to answer any questions from nature photographers.

      I did not know that they built on the Celery Field site. Please post a link to their location.

      I did not mention that when the Wood Storks nested at Corkscrew they closed off entire sections of the boardwalk to “protect” the nesting colony. All the birds left to nest farther to the north at spots like Gatorland and St. Augustine not to mention the Jacksonville Zoo where there is a thriving colony, all in close proximity to humans… Audubon refuses to consider the effects of water and air pollution, climate change, and the biggest killer of all, habitat destruction. It is far easier for them to simply blame nature photographers…