|The President’s Hoot|
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
A tremendously dedicated Audubon volunteer…is one who continues his mission despite having the loss of his lifetime love and having severe health problems himself, and even carries along his own oxygen support on the trail monitoring the birds! For the last 12 years, Col. Jack Taylor along with Bruce Wetmore (1996-2000), took over monitoring birds monthly at the Indian River Club on May 1996. Actually the first survey was done by our Past President and presently First Vice President Jens Tripson in January 1996.
Many excellent birders who love bird watching have accompanied Jack and most consistently since 1998 Jane Brooks has joined him. Others, both experienced as well as those new to birding have given valuable time, needed eyes and ears, and expertise; these include Frances Graves, Dotty Hull, Herb Taylor, Kathleen Scott, Regina Moran, Roz James, and David Severn. All have helped to systematically spot, survey, record, and make notes of the birds on the golf course.
Part of the golf course International Audubon certification program and a USFWS requirement for the Indian River Club is that a certain part of their development be set aside as a conservation area for scrub jays. Indeed according to Jack’s and Jane’s conscientious data and also the independent work of Board Member Joe Carroll in his Jay Watch Program, at least one family of Scrub Jays have been preserved on the site over the 12 year period of monitoring.
In addition to the scrub jays, over the years over 121 bird species have been found: 98 species in one year and a day’s outing high of 59 species identified in a 3 hour period. This is excellent birding at any site. In addition to the above monthly trips, Jack offers to the residents of the Indian River Club a unique birding experience with birding via a golf cart.
Not only has Jack been involved with the Indian River Club, he was the corrdinator of the South Brevard Christmas Bird count, which includes the northern part of Indian River County for over 20 years from 1980-2003.
Jane Brooks has been a very important person in the St. Lucie Audubon for many years and involved in the many activities of that Chapter and is highly knowledgeable of Florida flora as well as birds, contributing to Jack’s efforts in a committed, long-term way. At our November 17th meeting, PIAS will recognize the dedicated efforts of both Jack and Jane by giving each of them the high honor of “Environmental Citizen.”
If any of you would like to participate in the monthly bird counts at the Indian River Club, give Bob Montanaro a call at 772-567-3520. The best way to learn our birds is to go out with those who know them.
We salute the dedication to birding of Jack Taylor and Jane Brooks.