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Tropic news. Volume 6. Issue 7

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 6. Issue 7
Series Title:
Tropic news
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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Full Text


TR OPIC NEW'S

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
RESOURCES
April/May 1994 Volume 6 Number 7/8


FISH/HABITAT POSTERS
The posters are finally being printed! After several
delays due to problems in finding a printer, Katydids of
St. John is in the process of printing the Deepwater
Gamefish and Mangrove Habitat posters. Both should
be available in July and can be obtained by writing or
stopping by the Division and requesting them. Mailing
costs can be defrayed by providing $1.50 ($3.00 for
foreign) in stamps per poster.

Lesser Antillean
Bullfinch
\ BIRD TIPS
With the extended dry spell (drought) that we are
experiencing, many birds are desperately in need of
water and food. You can help our feathered friends by
putting out a birdbath and filling it every morning.
Bananaquits and bullfinches will congregate in great
numbers at a sugar feeder and you may need to refill it
more than once daily.
Hummingbirds need moisture and will actively
compete with each other over a hummingbird feeder.
For this reason it is recommended to put up more than
one and place them out of sight from each other. As
hummingbirds are attracted to red, use red feeders or
red plastic tape on a homemade feeder to make the
feeder attractive to them. Hummingbirds apparently
prefer red because bees tend to avoid red flowers and
the hummingbirds can feed more successfully at red
blooms.
If you happen to find a baby bird out of its nest try to
return it to the nest if you can find it. Contrary to
popular belief, birds have a poor sense of smell and
won't abandon their young after being handled by
humans. If you can't find the nest, or can't reach it, tie a
small basket lined with soft material in a tree near
where you found the bird. Place the bird in this artificial
nest. The baby bird's begging calls should soon bring the
parents to it.
It's possible to attract quite a number of bird species
to your property by placing water sources and feeders
around your house. Nest boxes can be used to replace
lost nesting habitat once found in dead trees by cavity
nesting birds. For more information on nest boxes
nlease contact the Division.


Green Mango Hummingbird


Antillean Crested
Hummingbird


The Roseate Tern, Sterna dougallii is a small tern
with a deeply forked tail that extends beyond the
wingtips. This species of tern also has a dark cap on its
head. The voice is high-pitched and squeaky. This
species is often seen inshore swarming over schools of
baitfish and smaller coastal pelagic fishes such as bonito
and jacks. They are commonly used by fishermen to
locate these schools offish.

Migratory Roseate Terns breed in the U.S. and
British Virgin Islands between May and July. Total
population numbers are not known, but between 3,000
and 6,000 breeding pairs have been estimated for the
Lesser Antilles. From previous studies, the U.S. Virgin
Islands appears to be the stronghold for Roseate Tern
breeding in the West Indies. In 1987, the U,S. Fish and
Wildlife Service listed the Caribbean population of this
tern as Threatened. Breeding populations are appar-
ently declining due to human disturbance and egg
collecting on the breeding grounds, and collecting of
juveniles and adults for food on the wintering grounds
in northern South America.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife, in collaboration"
with the USFWS, is providing data for the Roseate Tern
Recovery Plan. The Recovery Plan objective is to protect
and manage Roseate Tern populations and their habitat
to prevent further population decline and increase
productivity. Breeding colonies in the USVI are
censused and adult and fledgling birds are colorbanded
to assess whether or not the decline in the Caribbean
populations of this tern might be a result of birds mov-
ing between colonies from year to year. Preliminary
data of resightings indicates that birds colorbanded in
the USVI may nest in subsequent years in Puerto Rico
and the BVI. During the summer of 1994, the Division
will continue to gather information on the distribution,
breeding biology, and reproductive success of Roseate
terns in the Virgin Islands.

QUOTE
'There are some who can live without wild things,
and some who cannot."
Aldo Leopold


~o~s~ea~ I~R~rlb;dPL~L~


~L~BI~P~







A HOT LEATHERBACK SEASON
After a very slow start, the leatherback turtle nesting
season on Sandy Point, St. Croix has surged to potential
record breaking numbers. As of the end of May, we have
54 individual leatherbacks nesting on Sandy Point.
Twenty eight of these turtles are remigrants from
previous years and 26 are new to Sandy Point. These 54
turtles have laid 245 nests, of which 96 have been
relocated out of erosion-prone parts of the beach to
stable areas. Five nests laid in March have emerged.
The previous record for number of turtles nesting in
a season is 55 in 1992. There is a very good possibility
that we will break that record this year. The record of
345 nestsin 1992 is probably also at risk. Since the
project started in 1981 we have seen a gradual increase
in numbers of turtles nesting each year. It is too soon to
determine if this is a result of our nest protection efforts
buL Lhe trend is encouraging for the Sandy Point popula-
tion of turtles.
Another promising development is the use of Passive
Inductive Transponders (PIT tags) which we started to
use in 1992. These are small (5 mm long) glass encased
microchips which are injected into the turtle's shoulder
muscle and then "read" with a handheld scanner. Al-
ready, four turtles with no evidence of having been
tagged before with flipper tags have returned this year
with PIT tags from 1992.
As of the end of May, 330 people have visited the
project to see and learn about these endangered crea-
tures. Visitor groups include schoolchildren from schools
on St. Croix and St. Thomas, St. Croix Brownie Troop
and St. Croix Environmental Association. The VI Soil
Conservation Service and Rotary Club St. Croix West
have taken reservations and coordinated visitor groups.






Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


GOOD-BYE ANN!
After ten years with the Division, Ann Seileriefttb
be with her husband Chris in Colorado as he starts on a
program of veterinary medicine. Ann started as a
wildlife biologist and worked with donkeys and deer for
three years. In 1987 she-became Office Manager and in
1992 accepted the Director's position. During her'ten-
ure, Ann spent a great deal of time working on ways to
protect our dwindling natural resources. She was suc-
cessful in some of her attempts and others are still
ongoing. We wish Ann and Chris the best of luck and
hope that they don't freeze in Colorado.


LEAD IS DEAD
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is
proposing a rule that will prevent small lead- and 7ine-
containing fishing sinkers from entering the environ-
ment and posing a risk by poisoning birds and othgr
Aquatic animals. This will also reduce the risk of lead
exposure to the fishing public and individuals who
manufacture lead sinkers in their homes and to their
families. This has come about because Congress has
required EPA to reduce human and environmental
exposure to lead.
Lost or discarded sinkers can look like food items,
small stones or pieces of grit that aid in digestion to a
waterbird. Once ingested, the lead or zinc paralyzes
their digestive tract and they can die in 2-3 weeks.
The rule will prohibit all persons from manufactur-
ing, processing, selling, and importing any lead- or zinc
containing fishing sinker (including brass) that is one
inch or under in any dimension. There are less toxic
sinkers on the market such as tin, steel, antimony,
bismuth, tungsten, and a terpene resin putty that can
be used. This could become law in 2-3 years.
-


This newsletter was funded by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
Fishery Management Council and the
Government of the VI.


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES

Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
101 Estate Nazareth
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.). (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Reouested


~---d --~ -- -- I


- -- --------


~P~u.c\g'




Full Text

PAGE 1

T i! ~! DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE " April/May 1994 Volume 6 Number 7/8 FISH/HABIT AT POSTERS The posters are finall';! being printed! After several d~lays due to problems in finding a printer, Katydids of St. John is in the process of printing the Deepwater Gamefish and Mangrove Habitat posters. Both should be available in July and can be obtained by writing or stopping by the Division and requesting them. Mailing costs can be defrayed by providing $1.50 {$3.00 for foreign) in stamps per poster. KctJtrcl The Rose~l~ Tt!rn, Sterna dougallii , is a small tern with a deeply forked tail that extends beyond the wingtips. This species of tern also has a dark cap on its head. The voice is high-pitched and squeaky. This species is often seen inshore swarming over schools of 'baitfish and smaller coastal pelagic fishes such as bonito and jacks. They are commonly used by fishermen to locate these schools offish. Migratory Roseate Terns breed in the U.S. and British VirgiI1 Islands between May and July. Total population numbers are not kno\vn, but between 3,000 and 6,000 breeding pairs have been estimated for the Lesser AntilleS'. From previous studies, the U.S. Virgin Islands appears to be the stronghold for Roseate Tern breeding in the West Indies. In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Caribbean population of this tern as Threatened. Breeding populations are apparently .declining due to human disturbance and egg collecting on the breeding gro\lnds, and collecting of juveniles and adults for food on the wintering grounds in northern South America. The Divis:ion of Fish and Wildlife, in collaboration'" with the USFWS, is providing data for the Roseate Tern Recovery Plan. The Recovery Plan objective is to protect and manage Roseate Tern populations and their habitat to prevent further population decline and increase productivity. Breeding colonies in the USVI are censused and adult and fledgling birds are colorbanded to assess whether or'not the decline in the Caribbean populations of this tern might be a result of birds moving between colonies from year to year. Preliminary data ofresightings indicates that birds colorbanded in the USVI may nest in subsequent years in Puerto Rico and the BV!. During the summer of 1994, the Division will continue to gather information on the distribution, breeding biology, and reproductive success of Roseate terns in the Virgin Islands. Lesser Antillean .. \ Bullfinch ." BIRD TIPS ~" With the extended dry spell (drought) that we are experiencing, many birds are desperately in need of water and food. You can help our feathered friends by putting out a birdbath and filling it every morning. Banan~quits and bullfinches will con~egate in ~eat numbers at a sugar feeder and you may need to refill it more than once daily. Hummingbirds need moisture and will actively compete with each other over a hummingbird feeder. For this reason it is recommended to put up more than one and place them out of sight from each other. As hummingbirds are attr~cted to red, use red feeders or red plastic tape on a homemade feeder to make the" feeder attractive to them. Hummingbirds apparently prefer red because bees tend to avoid red flowers and the hummingbirds can feed Ir\ore successfully at red blooms. If you happen to find a baby bird out of its nest try to return it to the nest if you can find it. Contrary to popular belief, birds hav~ a poor sense of smell and won't abandon their young after being handled by humans. If you can't find the nest, or can't reach it, tie a small basket lined with soft material in a tree near where you found the bird. Place the bird in this artificial nest. The baby bird's begging calls should soon bring the parents to it. It's possible to attract quite a number of bird species to your property by placing water sources and feeders around your house. Nest boxes can be used to replace lost nesting habitat once found in dead trees by cavity nesting birds. For more information on nest boxes nlease contact the Division. Green Mango Hummingbird QUOTE 'There ate some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot... AIda Leopold Antillean Crested Hummingbird

PAGE 2

GOOD-BYE ANN!:, After ten years with the Division, Ann Seiler;Xeft'fu be with her husband Chris in C'olor'ado as he starts on a program of veterinary medicine. Ann started as a ~rildlife biologist and worked v.;th donkeys and deer for thr~e'ye:ais. In 1987.~he;i;)e;~ame,. gfficeM~~g~t;" ~.d ini'~ 1992 accepted the DIrector s posItIon. Dunng her fenure, Ann spent a great-deal of time working on ways to protect our dwindling natural resources. She was successful in some of her attempts and others are still ongoing. We wish Ann and Chris the best of luck and hope that they don't freeze in Colorado. LEAD IS DEAD The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing, a rule that will prevent srnalllEiadRnd 'l;nl'containing fishing sinkers from entering the environment and posing a risk by poisoning bIrds and oth~r aquatic animals. This will also reduce" the risk ofiead exposure to the fishing public and individuals who manufacture lead sinkers in their homes and to their families. This has come about because Congress has required EP A to reduce human and environmental exposure to lead. Lost or discarded sinkers can look like food items, small stones or pieces of grit that aid in digestion to a waterbird. Once ingested, the lead or zinc paralyzes their digestive tract and they can die in 2-3 weeks. The rule will prohibit all persons from manufacturing, processing, selling, and importing any leador zinc" containing fishing sinker (including brass) that is one inch or under in any dimension. There are less toxic sinkers on the market such as tin, steel, antimony, bjsmuth, tungsten, and a terpene resin putty that can be used. This could become law in 2-3 years. A HOT LEATHERBACK SEASON' After a very slow start, the leatherback turtle nesting season on Sandy Point; St. Croix has surged to potential record breaking numbers. As of the end of May, we have 54 indi~:.Q,u~1eatherq.acks nesting on Sandy.p,ojnt. .""' Twenty eight-of these turtles are r~migrants:from " previous years and 2"6 are new to Sandy Point. These 54 turtles have laid 245 nests, of which 96 have been relocated out of erosion-prone parts of the beach to stable areas. Five nests laid in March have emerged. The previous record for numl>er of turtles nesting in a season is 55 in 1992. There is Ii very good possibility that we will break that record this year. The record of 345 nests in 1992 is probably also at risk. Since the project started in 1981 we have seen a gradual increase in numbers of turtles nesting each year. It is too soon to determine if this is a result of our nest protection effort.R but; t;h~ trend is encouraging for the Sandy Point population of turtles. Another promising development is the use of Passiye Inductive Transponders (PIT tags) which we started to use in 1992. These are small (5 mm long) glass encased microchips which are injected into the turtle's shoulder muscle and then "read" with a handheld scanner. Already, four turtles with no evidence of having been tagged before with flipper tags have returned this year with PIT tags from 1992. As of the end of May, 330 people have visited the project to see and learn about these endangered creatures. Visitor groups include schoolchildren from schools on St. Croix and St. Thomas, St. Croix Brownie Troop and St. Croix Erivironmental Association. The VI Soil Conservation Service and Rotary Club St. Croix West have taken reservations and coordinated visitor groups. This newsletter was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean Fishery Management Council and the Government of the VI. -:.~~:-';;'-. '.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 101 Estate Nazareth St. Thomas. USVI 00802 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.). (809)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction ReQuested