Refuge for Pelicans

Sep 4, 2020

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although we often think of Theodore Roosevelt as a relentless hunter of trophy animals, he combined that a passion for understanding the habit, habitat and lifestyles of not only those but other animals in nature. As he waited for transit to Cuba during the Spanish American War, Roosevelt renewed an earlier interest in pelicans, this time spending endless hours observing them in nature from his posting in Tampa. Fortunately for the conservation movement, he saw and was sickened by a sixty-foot high pile of dead birds on the docks awaiting shipment to the plumage sales in New York. Coincidentally, the Curator of Ornithology at Roosevelt’s old stomping ground, the American Museum of Natural History, was attempting to purchase Pelican Island as the millinery trade was buying nearby tracts of land that were breeding grounds for the birds whose feathers they coveted.