by Ben Carswell, JIA Director of Conservation
Migratory birds are front and center, welcoming visitors to the Mosaic – the reimagined museum of Jekyll Island. Jekyll, along with much of coastal Georgia, is truly a haven for a stunning diversity of avian life. A mixed flock of sculpted birds flies over the image of Jekyll Island in the Mosaic’s lobby, representing the stunning range of diversity in shape and color of the migratory bird species that use the Atlantic Flyway migratory route along our coast.
These differences in form reflect the many ways that birds are adapted to survive in a complex and ever-changing environment, navigating challenges and threats at every turn. Despite their physical differences, they are all long-distance travelers – island and continent hoppers – transiting the open-ocean to find their way to our little island. Some are here to nest and reproduce, like the colorful painted bunting. Others are just passing overhead, gracing us with their calls in flight, like the majestic sandhill crane.
For those that rely on Jekyll Island for food, much needed rest, or for their breeding grounds, it is vital that we sustain a hospitable refuge for them here. Many of these birds, such as the whimbrel, face hunting pressure in their winter range. Painted buntings are taken from the wild and caged as pets. By understanding their needs and easing the pressures they face here, we can help bolster threatened populations to be more resilient in the face of hazards that are beyond our control far away. The JIA Conservation department has been focused first and foremost on shorebird monitoring and conservation. This is because shorebirds as a group of species are suffering widespread declines in their numbers. With your support, through the Jekyll Island Foundation, we aim to expand our efforts to include a broader range of migratory bird species deserving conservation attention, such as the painted bunting. To donate, visit jekyllislandfoundation.org