Originally built as a fortress and military storehouse, Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, bore witness to the first shots of the Civil War. But today — just outside the crumbling walls that once served as a prisoner-of-war camp — anywhere from half a dozen to hundreds of Brown Pelicans nest every year. Meanwhile, inside the castle, the calls of herons, egrets, gulls, and terns ring throughout the nesting season. At least for the moment, it’s a place where history and conservation find equal footing.
Written by Erin Weeks
This is BirdNote.
Standing in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, looking across the water, you see a spit of land – and a ruin. It was once a fortification for the military, but today it’s a refuge for the harbor’s wildlife – and birds in particular. It’s called Castle Pinckney.
Castle Pinckney has watched the passage of two centuries of American history. It bore witness to the first shots of the Civil War at nearby Fort Sumter. The 1989 hurricane that left South Carolina’s coast in ruins, and all the dramatic changes in between.
Today anywhere from half a dozen to hundreds of Brown Pelicans nest every year just outside the crumbling brick walls that once served as a prisoner-of-war camp. Meanwhile, inside the castle, the calls of herons, egrets, gulls, and terns ring throughout the nesting season - monitored carefully by state biologists.
It’s taken a partnership to make this happen – between The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Fort Sumter Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And a certain benign neglect that has allowed the birds to thrive relatively undisturbed.
At least for the moment, it’s a place where history and conservation find equal footing.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Macaulay 199066 Laughing Gull Bob Mcguire recorded on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey.Background species: Boat tailed Grackle, Herring Gull, Black-backed Gull, Willet
Boat Harbor ‘SFX of Hollywood’ 2011; Harbor Ambient by John Kessler, Kessler Production.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org June 2016/2021 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# castlepinckney-01-2016-06-05 castlepinckney-01