FERRY SLIP ISLAND, NC (WWAY)– Eight islands in the Cape Fear prohibit people, so another species can call them home.
It’s a spot on the Cape Fear River normally closed off to the public. Lindsay Addison researches and tracks 20 different species of birds on eight different islands.
“I think about them,” Addison said. “I’m like what are you guys up to today? What are you guys going to do? What am I going to find today? There’s always something going on, always something new.”
Dredging projects created the land by accident.
“Back in the 1970s the U.S. Army core of Engineers needed a place to deposit a bunch of material they dredged out of a navigational channel,” Addison explained.
This created the perfect elevation to protect the birds, no route for predators, and most importantly, no people.
“Someone on the island during the wrong time of the year can cause a tremendous amount of damage,” the Deputy State Director of Audubon, Walker Golder said.
Golder describes what happened when someone tried camping on Ferry Slip Island.
“We saw probably a thousand or more eggs abandoned in the colony, they had just wiped out the colony and it was merely their presence,” Golder said. “It wasn’t vandalism.”
Addison says they even have to be careful when they do research.
“What we ask ourselves is: Are the conditions right to visit the islands and are we gathering information that’s going to help these species as a whole?” Addison explained.
She says monitoring these islands is vital to keep these birds around. These islands are the only ones in a 100 mile vicinity that have suitable living conditions for these birds.