Ferry Slip Island is home to thousands of coastal birds. Even though it is man made, people are usually not allowed. They made an exception today. WWAY's Andy Scherr was escorted out to the place fondly known as Bird Island, for a special look at our feathered friends. It feels like one giant nest, for nearly eight thousand different birds. Walker Golder of the North Carolina Audubon Society said, "They include brown pelicans, royal turns, sandwich turns, laughing gulls, American oyster catchers and williks." It's called Ferry Slip Island. It is one of two bird sanctuaries in the Cape Fear region made out of the sand and sludge the Army Corps of Engineers dredges out of the Cape Fear River. Over the years it has become one of the more popular nesting sites for local sea birds. The island has been here since about 1970. And without it, our coastal environment would look dramatically different. Biologist Angela Mangiameli said, "If this wasn't here, these birds would not even be anywhere in this area." Golder says the pelican population has gone from less than 100 to more than 5,000 since Ferry Slip came to be. New sand is added every few years to fight erosion. Birds also thrive here because the island is isolated from humans and other predators. Golder said, "One person on the island under the wrong conditions can cause the abandonment of nests, the abandonment of chicks and under certain conditions cause the entire abandonment of the entire colony." But at this rate that's not likely to happen. The fact that this is an island helps keep people away, and help bird populations soar. Ferry Slip Island is one of two bird sanctuaries made from dredged material. The other is the neighboring South Pelican Island.
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