A Birdseye View from St. Vincent Island

Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 09:49 AM.

The annual Open House, which takes place on the island, had to be cancelled a few weeks ago due to some very stormy weather.  With the help of Mother Nature another event will be scheduled on the island in the fall.   We look forward to giving more visitors the opportunity to visit the island.  Watch for more news about this event in future articles.

Turtle nesting season will be here in May and you can help support the turtle program on St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by participating in our “Adopt-a-Nest” program.  For a small fee of $25 you will be able to name the turtle whose nest you adopt and you will receive the following:
            *  adoption certificate

            *   photo of adopted nest

            *   activity/hatchling report

            *   recognition in Supporters' newsletter

            Proceeds from nest adoptions help offset refuge costs for the turtle monitoring program.  These costs include fuel for the survey vehicles and materials to construct cages to protect nests from predators.  Female Loggerhead sea turtles, the species most often found on St. Vincent Island, lay their eggs along the gulf side beaches of St. Vincent.  Each nest contains over 100 eggs. Unfortunately, there are quite a few predators on the island that disturb the nests and destroy the eggs. The main predators are feral hogs and raccoons. Confirmed nests (those nests that actually contain eggs) need protection so wire cages are placed over the nests to discourage the predators. In most cases, these cages do a very good job.

The gulf side beaches of the island are patrolled several times each week by volunteers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife staff. The number of patrols per week depends on staffing levels. The beaches are patrolled for evidence of turtle activity (crawls). The crawls are examined to determine the species of sea turtle making the crawl and whether the turtle actually made a nest. The nests are examined to determine if there are eggs present and the GPS location is noted. All nests are monitored during the nesting season and accurate records kept. This is done so that complete survey data can be kept and used to determine nesting trends, etc. 

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