Group Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 16, 1983.
Title: Poachers destroy a rookery during a houseboat tour
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 Material Information
Title: Poachers destroy a rookery during a houseboat tour
Series Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 16, 1983.
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Publication Date: June 16, 1983
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- South Florida
Funding: Florida International Univerity Libraries
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Bibliographic ID: FI07010808
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: Florida International University
Holding Location: Florida International University
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: SPC95A_2


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( 7ale of Ywo Women
Maljory Stoncman Douglas and Maijoric I larris Carr

Segment: Poachers destroy a rookery during a houseboat tour

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove,
June 16, 1983.

Length of Segment: 00:06:32

Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.


MSD: But then, we had been waiting in the houseboat, I think now, let me see, I have to remember
whether it was before that or after that... Oh yes, and then we went back to the houseboat, and that
was the night when Dr. Bumpus has been dried off and we'd all been sitting in the big open cabin
upstairs; like a big room. And Dr. Gilbert Pearson, who was along, who is the president of the
Federation of Audubon societies, one of the funniest men in the world, the man who had done so much
to have the bird plumage protection laws put on, both in New York State against the milliner's business
and in the federal government. So we were up there, and Dr. Pearson was telling stories, and I
remember laughing so hard, and I was sitting on the floor with a man named Arno Cammerer, who was
the assistant of the National Park Service, and he and I we were in tears, and it was he and I we were
sitting on the floor and we cried, we laughed so hard we cried and we just laid down on the floor and
cried, 'cause it was so funny. But it was during that time, that a man on a boat came along and told
somebody below who came and told Dr. Pearson and some of the others who went down and saw him,
that a bunch of poachers were waiting over in the next stream and it was in the mangroves and there
were streams here and there over in the next... they were camped out over in the mangroves just a little
way down, waiting for us to get out of the way, cause they were going to go and shoot up that rookery
of birds that we'd just been seeing. So several of the people, Dr. Grosvenor and Dr. Pearson, got into
the boat and went over to talk to them, and the men, the poachers, were perfectly affable and they had
them come and sit around the fire and they talked. But I don't know why our men didn't make any
protest against the shooting; I don't know why they didn't. I don't know what they expected to gain by
just talking in general to the people, but at any rate, they came back and the poachers were still there
and we left in the houseboat and went up farther up the coast and, indeed, they went up and shot up
the entire rookery. So many of those birds were killed that we had seen, and the young, they killed the

young for the nuptial plumes, they killed the older birds, I mean, for the nuptial plumes, and the
nestlings that had just been hatched died in the hot sun, with the crows and the predators coming and
eating them. So, we saw the destruction of that rookery; thousands of birds were killed. Why our
people didn't protest against that, I don't know, I suppose they felt the men would say, "Well, we're not
going to hit them." They would have denied it, I suppose. But they were completely illegal but it was
very difficult to prevent them because the State of Florida was not exerting itself very much to prevent
them, and before then when we tried to and had poachers arrested, with the dead birds, and we had
somebody that would turn a witness, would become a witness, to the shooting, we would take that to
the court in Key West and the judge would blandly release them, and say, "Well, we don't know that
they were poaching," and they'd let them off. We couldn't get justice done in Monroe County. And
that's the thing, among the other things, that I've held against Monroe County, was the complete
disregard of that sort of thing. Because they'd had so many years, and people, the poachers, lived in Key
West, and they lived up and down the Ten Thousand Islands and nobody bothered them. So it was an
eye-opener as to what was happening. That is why you don't see so many birds as you used to, partly
because of the poaching and partly because of the pesticides and herbicides and the lack of water
proper in the seasons when they are nesting, and too much water when they are nesting let out by the
Water Management District from the second and third conservation basins, they let out at the wrong
time masses of water that would go down and cover up all the feeding grounds for all the nesting birds,
so they couldn't find any food for the young nestlings and nestling would die. In the natural state there
might have been times when there would naturally be too much high water, but that would not kill off
as many birds as the poachers and the presence of mankind and in the cities and the encroaching areas.
They would have never killed off the birds; the birds lived through normal up and down conditions. That
is why you don't see so many today, and I've seen thousands and thousands of birds going overhead.
Forty thousand in one sunset period, going from their rookies, perhaps, or going from the Everglades
out to a place like Duck Rock, which is below the town of Everglades. Going out there to spend the night
where there were no predators that could get at them. Where there were no, you know, the kind of
predators that would get after the birds, the, I suppose...

Interviewer: Raccoons?

MSD: ...animals and the snakes and all that. But anyway, they'd be safer. But forty thousand birds on
one little mangrove island at once like a great bouquet of birds.

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