Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 49

Thread: Tree removal at UTSW

  1. #1

    Default Tree removal at UTSW

    Hello -

    I just read a post on the new Texbirds site indicating there is some tree removal being performed at the rookery at UTSW. Does anyone have more info?

    Mary Lee
    FWAS
    Last edited by Mary Lee Johnson; 03-05-2009 at 04:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,009

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    Mary Lee, see this thread: http://audubondallas.org/forum/showthread.php?t=915

    From what Anna saw and photographed, it appears to be shrubbery trimmed back on the Inwood Rd side, but not trees removed. I'll make a point of investigating in the next few days, but I think there might be more anxiety about it on the part of some people than is actually warranted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    N. Central Tx
    Posts
    850

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    Betsy is checking this rookery out as I am typing, I do believe. I am hoping that she reports back that the rookery is intact and that the birds will not be disturbed in the nesting process.
    Lulu
    Happy Birding!


    Life Birds:449
    Newest Lifer: Northern Beardless Tyrannulet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,009

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    I dearly wish I could make such a report, but the folks at UTSWMC have been very, very, VERY, VERY bad!!! Anna told me she didn't walk the complete periphery the day she went there because her object was to photograph birds. Only the early vanguard of Great Egrets is there yet, so there were no nesting birds beyond the memorial area and she and jr didn't go beyond that area.

    This evening I walked the entire periphery of the rookery, starting near the memorial area and going clockwise around it. At first I wondered what all the kerfuffle was about, because I saw evidence of leaves having been blown back a few feet into the rookery, some privet shrubs cut back to about a foot from the ground which were already sending out new shoots, but no trees cut down -- even dead trees that had fallen against other trees had not been removed.

    Once I got beyond the short aisle through the shrubbery at the back of the rookery, though, I started to see some stubs of hacked off hackberry saplings. I started counting them but gave up at about three dozen because as soon as I turned the corner the destruction was even worse -- no longer limited to saplings and trees were cut back deeper into the former rookery area (which is still demarcated by the lack of grass). From the approximately eight feet deep of missing buffer zone I first encountered, the cutback kept expanding until about thirty feet deep of buffer zone was gone in the vicinity of the tennis/basketball court (built on land that was stolen from the rookery at that time). I could see last year's nests in the trees right at the edge. I doubt the birds will feel comfortable nesting in such newly exposed trees this year and the latecomers will have to find another place to nest, which means the rookery's capacity has been substantially reduced.

    The small pond that used to be a little distance inside the rookery, where the birds used to drink, is now at the edge of it. Since the birds usually left the pond when people walked by anywhere near the buffer zone, I wonder if they'll use it much at all now. The whole thing made me wish I owned a digital camera so I could show it to you. The former buffer zone around 70% of the rookery has been totally removed and some of the rest of it has been thinned out.

    Yes, rookery fans have reason to be agitated and a protest is in order, in case this is merely the thin edge of the wedge and they'll do worse if they get away with this much. What on earth could they have been thinking when they did this! These trees did not pose a hazard to grounds workers -- that's a totally feeble excuse.

    The texbirds post (the link to it in the new archives didn't work for me earlier) included three email addresses -- the first two are for protests and the third is for singing in the choir (in other words, send her a copy if you decide to send protests) because Ms Gilles-Gonzalez is outraged by this destruction.

    sergio.bazaldua@tpwd.state.tx.us Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden

    kirby.vahle@utsouthwestern.edu Vice President Physical Plant at UTSWMC

    ti_zoazo@yahoo.com private email address of Marie-Alda.Gilles-Gonzalez, Heron and Egret Society founding member
    Last edited by betsy; 03-06-2009 at 09:04 PM. Reason: changed email address of Marie-Alda.Gilles-Gonzalez

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,009

    Angry Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    Update:

    I wrote Marie-Alda.Gilles-Gonzalez to ask if any birds had been in residence working on nests when the destruction took place. She said they were:

    "The birds began to arrive on February 13th. By February 19th, I counted 150 great egrets in residence. The birds were definitely working on their nests and sitting on them when all the cutting took place during the week of February 23-27. An absolutely infuriated wildlife rehabilitator [Kathy Rogers of Rogers Wildlife, I expect] told me that this sort of chainsawing operation beneath sitting birds is done deliberately to drive the birds away with the clear message that trees will be chopped from under them. Indeed, there are downed nests just beneath where the birds are actually sitting. The TWPD game warden saw the downed nests."

    So, now I'm ready to write the game warden to ask that a fine be levied against the Medical Center for this illegal harassment of nesting birds.

    Kathy Rogers, btw, is especially sensitive to actions like this because she was called out by a game warden to help rescue birds when Carrollton sneakily cut down their nesting trees in the middle of the night. Kathy was sick as a dog at the time but nevertheless worked something liike 36 hours straight rescuing birds, and then had to hire people to help take care of them around the clock and herself drive to the border with Louisiana every day to get fish for them. Carrollton had to pay for it all, as well they should have!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    Disgusting! What was the reason for the trees removal so close to nesting season? Do people just not think about anything anymore?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,009

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    It's not a question of not thinking, it appears to be a case of not caring. Or rather, of doing it deliberately because the powers in charge over there presumably want the birds to be gone.

    According to Edward A. Kutac's Birder's Guide to Texas, the rookery "has been preserved and protected since 1938 in the shadow of the ever-expanding University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center." That ever-expanding bit is telling. The speculation is that the university wants to use the land for other purposes and is trying to scare the nesting birds away by making them think the trees will be cut down under them. For that to have a chance of working, the noise and disturbance would have to occur while birds are there intent on nesting and actively working on (re)building nests.

    To give you an idea of the mentality involved, have a look at this article on "Controlling Nuisance Egret and Heron Rookeries in Oklahoma": http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/vi...ontext=gpwdcwp
    The very last thing in this article is a reference to a 1986 publication by Texas Parks and Wildlife entitled "Nuisance heronries in Texas: characteristics and management." One of the authors of this publication is the very R. C. Telfair II whom Cheryl from the grounds department told Anna Palmer that UTSWMC worked with on thnis trimming operation. Cheryl told Anna that Telfair was with TP&W, but neglected to mention that he'd retired five years ago, a piece of data that I got from Mark Klym who is currently with TP&W.

    So, regardless of anything Cheryl said to Anna about the welfare of the birds being a concern, it's really the welfare of the university that's of concern to the university staff and the birds are considered to be a "nuisance." Perish the thought that we greedy humans should willingly share a bit of this planet with other species!

    A couple of years ago Sheryll Barker, who used to work at UTSWMC and/or be a student there, wrote to tell me that the land where the covered tennis/basketball courts are now was once part of the rookery and that the university stole it from the rookery to create the playing courts. Sheryll said that the action outraged the then students (for whose benefit this was supposedly done, I imagine), who lodged a major protest with the administration. That happened a number of years ago and those students who remember the event are doubtless now gone.

    There is an impression that the land on which the rookery stands was donated to the university with the stipulation that the rookery be preserved. It would be really interesting to find out if this is the case and get the relevant quote. Anyone know how to go about it?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    Hi all,

    I have had correspondence with both Betsy and Marie-Alda about the UTSWMC Rookery, and I stopped by the university this past Saturday afternoon to have a look at the damages for myself.

    For those who are interested, I created an annotated satellite image illustrating the approximate area affected by the work, as well as a few other relevant points.

    I hope this helps.

    -Chris



    Last edited by DFW Urban Wildlife; 07-12-2009 at 04:58 PM.
    DFW Urban Wildlife
    ===================
    Documenting the Diversity
    of Dallas/Fort Worth Area
    Urban Wildlife.
    ===================
    www.dfwurbanwildlife.com

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    A severe pruning also happened in the late 1980s. The UTSWMC took a public relations beating then - especially from within. I'm sure that's going on to some extent now behind the scenes. This particular case though seems both more pronounced and perhaps more intentional.

    Ray Telfair and I both surveyed the damage then when I was at DMNH. They made sure it was well protected after the publicity got bad. I suspect many of the powers-that-be are gone now, and I know Ray retired.

    I don't remember anything about the politics. Ray and were called in as PR stop-gaps and that was the end of the involvement. However, I'm sure there is some public relations person at the building who is fielding calls... I just don't know who.
    Texas Bird Images http://www.texasbirdimages.com
    North-central Texas Birds http://www.nctexasbirds.com

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tree removal at UTSW

    jpeter, I have heard Ray Telfair's name mentioned several time in association with this latest incident at the rookery. It has been suggested that he is advising the University about the management of the rookery, and therefore directly or indirectly responsible for the work that was done. Of particular concern is the publication he produced for the State of Texas entitled
    Nuisance Heronries in Texas: Characteristics and Management


    Can you shed any light on this? How would you characterize his relationship with the University with regards to the rookery?
    Last edited by betsy; 03-10-2009 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Fixed the URLs so they work -- Admin
    DFW Urban Wildlife
    ===================
    Documenting the Diversity
    of Dallas/Fort Worth Area
    Urban Wildlife.
    ===================
    www.dfwurbanwildlife.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •