Bird sanctuary signs posted

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Saying Terrebonne Parish is for the birds is no insult to Darlene Eschete, members of the Terrebonne Bird Club, Department of Wildlife representatives or parish officials.


Individuals with these interests were proud to be for the birds last Tuesday in downtown Houma. That is where they dedicated a bird sanctuary sign and their commitment to enhancing regional wildlife in Terrebonne Parish.


Bird club past president and wildlife artist, Eschete designed the new bird sanctuary signs, five of which have been placed throughout the parish to spark public awareness and development of habitat areas.

“We have many species of birds that stay here all year, but also a wide variety of migrations in the spring and fall,” Eschete said. “Terrebonne Parish is one of the last stopovers before migrating birds continue their journey [across the Gulf of Mexico] to South America and Mexico.”


More than just an appreciative group of bird watchers, Eschete said the Terrebonne Bird Club is concerned about coastal restoration and how land loss of Louisiana impacts wildlife and life quality for humans.


“The loss of our cypress trees has impacted raptors as well as smaller birds,” she said. “Smaller songbirds go through more brush area.”

U.S. Department of Interior Mandalay Wildlife Refuge Area Manager Paul Jakupzack said having designated bird sanctuaries helps human life.


“Bird are important in a lot of ways,” he said. “People like seeing birds, but birds are also an indicator of environmental health. Birds can sense things happening in the environment that humans may not be able to sense. If you have an abundance of birds, it typically means you have a healthy environment.”

In addition to appreciating nature, members of the Terrebonne Bird Club contend that studying bird wildlife can help improve human quality of life.

“We were thrilled when the Terrebonne Bird Club called and asked if we wanted to partner with them on the placing of signs in designated bird sanctuary areas throughout the parish,” Terrebonne Parish Community Problem Solver Linda Henderson said. “Through the planning and zoning department this goes under the quality of life committee. We just hope more citizens will be aware that we do have designated bird sanctuary areas and will want to have their property designated as such.”

Eschete said that American eagles and painted buntings are among the most outstanding birds of the region. Those two species are just a sampling of the variety of sparrows, warblers, cranes, pelicans and other species that make Terrebonne Parish home at least part of the year.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, an estimated 2.7 million ducks of multiple varieties were recorded in the state during January alone. While that total fit in a 5-year average, the number is 15 percent lower than sightings from one year earlier.

Jakupzack said designating bird sanctuaries is intended to help make people aware how birds benefit their own existence in the secosystem.

Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet holds the ribbon for artist Darlene Eschete to cut for the dedication of a bird sanctuary sign dedication at Courthouse Square.

MIKE NIXON | TRI-PARISH TIMES