New Birds Arriving, Tomorrow’s Meeting

Thank you for your communications.

First things first.
After a week of quiet, the birds are looking better. The great egrets are repairing their nests again, as several of you noted. The new arrivals, which had stopped since the disturbances, have picked up again and the number of great egrets has grown to about 300. The smaller birds too are beginning to arrive. I counted eleven little-blue herons yesterday.

The Audubon Dallas thread is gaining steam. Do check it.

Please make every effort to attend tomorrow’s meeting. Here are some suggestions that came my way. Bob suggested that an agenda be sent to Vahle so we that we use our time well.
See below.

Item 1 of the agenda

In addition to introducing ourselves, Chalo suggests that we inquire about the experts who advise the university and how they are chosen.

He further suggests that we secure a promise that nothing will be done to the rookery in future without first alerting Audubon.

Item 2 of the agenda

Peter proposes that a water supply be guaranteed to the rookery. This of course assumes that the university would want to nurture the rookery. That is an excellent place from which to start.

Peter also suggests that a transparent “check-and balance system be set in place to protect the birds,” such as a regular newsletter from Physical Plant.

Robert thinks that one outcome of the meeting should be “a public statement by the institution (UTSW, not the Physical Plant) of specifically how it plans to handle the rookery long term.”

Item 3 of agenda

Several of you support the proposal that a screen be built around the area of the pond. Rogers Wildlife Rehab will advise on this.

Please plan to stick to the agenda and stay focused on the specific actions to be gained from this meeting.

P.S. Based on a conversation with Vahle on Monday afternoon, here is what you might expect (I am paraphrasing here.). He will be shocked by any suggestion that the rookery is being encouraged to crash or that Telfair would want any harm to come to the rookery. He will tell us that Telfair is no longer being consulted because he is retired, and that two individuals from Tyler are. He was unaware of our group. The physical plant was unaware of the presence of the egrets during the recent cuttings and stopped the cuttings as soon as they learned that there were egrets on site. There was nothing unusual about this particular cutting; it is only 1 to 2 trees deep. Based on many years’ statistics, the rookery is thriving. (The hour will certainly be taken up with a recitation of the statistics if we allow this.) The egrets have not always been here and first started coming to this area in 1966 when an apartment complex about 1.4 miles away was destroyed. There is no need to alter university policy about the rookery, because a policy of keeping the rookery “undisturbed until deserted” has lasted through three UTSW presidents. To every suggestion of repairs, he will respond that this might harm the birds, and he will try to reassure us that the birds will not be in any way be adversely affected by the recent disturbances.

Message to be sent:

Dear ———-,
Thank you for helping us organize a meeting tomorrow about the rookery. Representatives of the Heron and Egret Society, Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and Audubon will be in attendance. About 12 individuals have already indicated that they will attend. The actual number might be higher, but probably not more than 25.
In the interest of time, we would like to have the following items to be placed high on the agenda?
(1) An introduction of ourselves and expertise.
(2) A determination of past and future university policy about the rookery.
(3) A discussion on the actions to be taken to repair the recent damage to the rookery and prevent further damage.

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