The Town of Huntington closed off the Sarah H. Ruppert Water Bird Park Preserve at Hobart Beach in Eaton’s Neck Wednesday to protect shorebirds during their mating season.
Last year, the town began closing an area of the beach and the preserve after instances of trespassers in the preserve. The nests and eggs can be well-camouflaged and difficult to see. If unprotected, the nests and birds can be damaged by people accidentally stepping on eggs. Or the presence of people or dogs may keep incubating adults off their nest.
Research shows that recreational activities, such as beach bathing, walking, jogging, fishing, boat/kayak landing and dog walking can have significant unintentional consequences for the birds. Birds may abandon nests, get separated from their chicks, be more vulnerable to predators or unable to feed. Nests that are not tended to by adults will fail.
The Town of Huntington, volunteers, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have worked on monitoring and managing federally and state-listed shorebirds at the bird preserve.
Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Councilman Ed Smyth, Fred Uvena, senior harbormaster and interim director of the Department of Maritime Services and Steve Sinkevich, senior fish and wildlife biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, participated in the effort to protect the preserve.