ATTENTION: "Birds, nests, eggs stripped from rookery island in bay" via Rockport Pilot

If anyone has any information about this terrible crime. Please contact authorities immediately! 1-800-792-4263.

SOURCE LINK -- During the past week one of the rookery islands in San Antonio Bay has been ravaged. Most of the nests, chicks, and birds are gone.

“I’ve been watching this island since 1969,” said Captain Kevin Sims of Aransas Bay Birding Charters. “I’ve never seen the island where the birds have left like they have.”

For Sims this island was also special because a rare white Great Blue Heron was at a nest with a chick, also white. Both of these rare birds are lost too.

He recalled, “I went by the island, Monday April 22, in the morning and everything was okay. There were lots of chicks, nests, and eggs. There were a lot of reddish egrets setting on eggs.”

Sims said, “I went by Thursday (April 25) and the island was stripped of nests, eggs and chicks. It is disappointing about the white chick. I wanted to see this bird grow up and see how it behaved.”

Sims returned to the island Friday and it appeared someone had returned and stripped it even more. He added, “I went by there on Sunday and there were just a handful of spoonbills left.”

Sims said he contacted the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Jonny Giles with the US Fish and Wildlife Service began an investigation. According to ANWR Manager Sonny Perez the investigation has since been turned over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in Victoria with Warden Mike Hoffman as lead investigator.

Tommy Moore of Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures also takes visitors by the island on a regular basis. “There’s nests and birds gone,” said Moore. “It’s sickening. Someone has stolen nests, eggs and I’m pretty sure birds. Giles said it looked like it was not a four-legged predator. It was a human that did this. I have never seen a rookery have a problem like this.”

Rockport resident Penny Hong has made several trips to the island with Sims and reported, “The rookery island for our nesting birds has been desecrated. I last went out with Kevin on April 4 and have myriad photos of a vibrant and exciting rookery. Kevin and Tommy both have written about and posted photographs of the rare, white morph Great Blue Heron and its white chick.”

Efforts to reach Giles and Hoffman by phone and email have been made. As of press time a neither have responded.

Hong did receive an email response where Giles said, “We will definitely work with our partners and do all we can to try and figure out what happened and who is responsible. I have spoken with Kevin and Tommy and have already received Kevin’s photos. It is currently an open and on going investigation.”

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the TPWD number for Operation Game Thief at 1-800-792-4263.

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