A 7alle of iJwo Women
Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Mlaijoric 1larris Carr
Segment: Damage on South Florida wildlife
Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida
International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House
in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.
Length of Segment: 00:03:33
Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.
Interviewer: How have the animals and the...
MSD: Well, the birds have decreased terribly. The birds have decreased enormously for a number of
reasons. Probably because there are more dry lands, because the water has been let out in the wrong
season. For instance, the water, the wood storks didn't nest at all the last two years because they put
the high water down into the entrance to the Everglades National park where they used to breed at the
wrong time, so they couldn't feed their young, the young would die, so they haven't nested. But the
curious thing that has happened to the wood stork and the wonderful thing; they've gone over to
Corkscrew. Do you know where Corkscrew is? Corkscrew is a part of an old cypress swamp that was
never logged, and the Audubon society was able to buy it. So it is primitive cypress swamp, and the
wood stork have gone over there. The water is high, but they can manage because they are eating the
walking catfish. The walking catfish got into the corkscrew swamp, didn't hurt anything, and now the
wood stork are breeding and feeding their young on walking catfish! They'll adapt if there is any
possibility of it. They'll adapt if they can. And some of them fly all the way to Okeechobee, pick up fish
and fly back again. But the walking catfish is such fun because we could really do without them. So
we're very happy about that, and for some reason the roseate spoonbill are making a big comeback, and
I don't know why, nobody has been able to tell me why. But many others have been almost lost
because of the dryness, the smog, the pesticides, the acid rain, all kinds of things from mankind, from
people, from cities.
Interviewer: Some species are able to adapt...
Interviewer: And other species...
MSD: Yes. You see the birds that we have around here have adapted, like the blue jay, the cardinal, the
kingbird. They adapt to local conditions. Well, their needs were not so difficult. And they breed in, they
don't, they have individual nests, they don't breed in big rookeries as the wading birds do, which makes
them much more vulnerable. All that sort of thing. Because the rookery will attract snakes and rats and
all kinds of predators, whereas an individual nest will only have local conditions. There might be rats in
the local conditions, there might not be. There might be cats that would keep down the rats that might
otherwise get the nestlings. In an area where there are roving cats, there are always more birds
because the cats keep down the rats and the rats are the true enemy of the bird. The bird will climb up
and get, eat the nestling, but a cat can't do that. These nests are on little boughs where the cats can't
climb, and most of these fat city cats, they don't climb trees anyway, but they get the rats on the
ground. People don't understand that about cats and birds. The rat is their in-between, and the cat is a
great help about that.