Christmas Bay is an important rookery for many coastal birds, including threatened species. Sustainable recreational use requires awareness of habitat impact to avoid unintended harm. The Christmas Bay Foundation worked with Dr Richard Baldauf, Director of Education at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to establish a signage program for vulnerable nesting areas on the rookery islands during bird breeding season to create awareness of nesting birds and chicks.
Arcadia Reef on the western end of Christmas Bay is populated in the spring with the threatened Reddish Egret along with the Black Skimmer, American Oystercatcher and other coastal species. The eggs of several of these species are barely distinguishable from the oyster shell and are vulnerable to waders inadvertently crushing them when walking on the islands. Additionally, the nesting birds will take flight when approached by waders and leave the eggs and young in their nests open to predatory gulls and the intense heat of the sun. Dr Baldauf created the signage and the CBF assisted by carrying the signs to the rookeries in CBF volunteer’s boat and assisted in the installation of the signs.