Bald Head Island Conservancy

For the Love of Wildlife

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It’s the season of love, and there is a tremendous amount of things to love about Bald Head Island, from the ancient maritime forest, to the sweeping Frying Pan Shoals, to the wildlife who call the island home. North Carolina Wildlife Federation began the month of February by sharing stories For the Love of Wildlife. This got our staff thinking about the wildlife that we love, and what about these species makes them so lovable, whether it’s their appearance, their personalities, or their importance to their ecosystem. Our staff and supporters responded with passionate picks.

Cynthia Chan’s favorites included Gulf fritillary butterflies, Green anoles, Black-crowned night herons, and, especially Atlantic ghost crabs. Chan loves “sitting on the beach and watching the ghost crabs play peek a boo!”

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Courtesy of Cynthia Chan

For Jerry Waits, there is nothing better than our White-tailed deer. Specifically, our bucks! “I love a big White-tailed island buck the best,” says Waits.

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Courtesy of Jerry Waits

For our Chief Scientist, Dr. Beth Darrow it’s tough to choose a favorite species on beautiful Bald Head Island, but she especially loves American oystercatchers. “They are so distinctive looking, they use that huge bill to feed on oysters, and they have really cool breeding behavior.” Darrow reminisces, “Paul and I got to assist Lindsay Addison from Audubon with Oystercatcher tagging in 2019 and that is one of my favorite memories from working at BHIC!”

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For fishermen Executive Director, Dr. Chris Shank and John Ramsey, it’s the expert anglers, the Ospreys! “I wish I could fish like them,” admits Shank.

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Courtesy of Sydney McLean

Barbara Grant and Turtle Central Assistant Manager, Amy Dunmire had a lot of love to share for our Brown pelicans! Grant is always mesmerized by their flight patterns: “their synchronized flying formations, effortless glide paths just inches over the ocean surface & daredevil fish dives” always stop her in her tracks. For Dunmire, watching a pelican hunt is where the fun is at. She reminisces on her favorite encounter “when squadrons of pelicans head out to Battery Island for their evening ‘conference.’ I’m assuming they are reviewing the day’s hunts, other birds they saw, crazy human stories, and the best location to rest for the night.”

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Broughton Taylor notices how happy and enriched climbing trees makes her favorite crab, the Squareback marsh crab, which she calls “the mangrove crab of the Carolinas” because of their shared ability with Florida’s Mangrove tree crabs.

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Michelle Guenther loves to look out for our ever-elusive birds, from Painted buntings to Belted kingfishers!

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Courtesy of Michelle Guenther

Thank you to everyone in our Conservancy community who share their love for wildlife with us, along with their wonderful wildlife photography! Tag us in your favorite island wildlife encounters with #BHIConservancy!


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