144 acre island co-owned by Houston Audubon and Audubon Texas. This island is the most productive colonial waterbird island in Galveston Bay. 20-40,000 pairs of birds of 17 species nest here. North Deer is the largest natural island left in Galveston Bay. One-third of the island is uplands, covered by really interesting South Texas vegetation, and two-thirds of the island is a beautiful, productive salt marsh.

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/usibac/2008_P7/TX1572m_NorthDeer08.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

The island is the most productive waterbird colony in Galveston Bay. Nineteen species of waterbirds nest on North Deer, including endangered species, such as Brown Pelicans, and those on the edge, such as Reddish Egrets and White-faced Ibis. The number of nests on the island can be staggering-it is not unusual to have 20,000 pairs of White-Ibis and 1,000 pairs of Brown Pelicans, plus 2-3,000 pairs of Laughing Gulls, all sharing the island habitat. Herons, egrets and spoonbills squeeze in where there is room.

Conservation Issues

Natural erosion due to tropical storms and hurricanes as well as erosion from the wakes of ships and boats have reduced the size of the island. Houston Audubon recently completed a project to restore and protect eroded shorelines. Invasive species threaten native plant communities and disturbance of nesting birds by humans can cause nest failure and abandonment.

Ownership

Co-owned by Houston Audubon and Audubon Texas

Habitat

North Deer is the largest natural island left in Galveston Bay. One-third of the island is uplands, covered by really interesting South Texas vegetation including shrubs and trees for nesting wading birds, and two-thirds of the island is a beautiful, productive salt marsh including habitat for ground nesters and herbaceous nesting birds.

Land Use

North Deer Island is managed and protected by Houston Audubon as a waterbird sanctuary.

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