Hillsborough Bay Bird Islands 'Globally Significant'
TAMPA - Hillsborough Bay's bird islands have been named globally significant by an international wildlife protection organization, based on the large populations of nesting birds there. Nonprofit Bird Life International works worldwide, using birds as environmental indicators, to improve the quality of life for birds and other wildlife by focusing on the animals and their habitats. Ian Hartzler of the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Areas program in Pennsylvania said Hillsborough Bay was designated this week as globally significant based on the presence of four species: laughing gull, roseate spoonbill, white ibis and glossy ibis. More than 1 percent of each species' worldwide population nests in Hillsborough Bay.The islands mentioned in the report include the two owned by Mosaic Fertilizer that make up the Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary and two Tampa Port Authority spoil islands. Audubon's Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries staff monitors the islands to protect the birds from outside interference during nesting seasons.
Reporter Yvette C. Hammett can be reached at (813) 865-1566.