Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970, Box 5 Folder 1

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Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970, Box 5 Folder 1 Davis, Warden John, Vingt'un Islands, Texas
Audubon Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
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1 folder
Physical Location:
Box 5 Folder 1


Subjects / Keywords:
Audubon societies -- Diaries ( lcsh )
Ecology -- Florida ( lcsh )
History -- Gulf Coast (Fla.) -- 20th century ( lcsh )


The daily journals of Audubon wardens and statewide reports on certain sites and projects cover activities from 1900 to 1970, with most of the materials concentrated between the 1930s and 1950s.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
032958557 ( ALEPH )
890709008 ( OCLC )
A47-00134 ( USF DOI )
a47.134 ( USF Handle )

USFLDC Membership

Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970

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Mr. Robert A. Vine 8515 Friendship Houston 24, Tex a Dear Bob: ---------l I I am very sorry to hear that you are no longer with the Houston Museum of Natural Hi tory. Sane time when I see you you may wish to t 11 me bout how that came to Pf. s. We are going to h v to k for your close cooperation, which I am sure will be readily torthcoming, in connection with any trips to th Vingt-un Islands to June. A you know 1 experience with visitors t ere in 195$ was a most unhappy one. We have since then been taking the position that we will not authorize visits prior to June, 'When most of the young are pretty well along and out of the nest. I myselt have taken care not to make i pections of our undry anctuarie on the Texas coast before June of each year in order to minimize pos ible disturbance. More and more we re also having to make it condition of authorized visits that there be no landing wha ver on the ne ting islands. Now there is no reason why a group of people on a boat may not see and hear the birds in their rookery on the island to excellent advant e without landing, and certainly without any blowin of horns or oth r actions or character dis turbin to the birds. I cannot tell you at the moment whether there 1s anyone at Smith Point at this time with a boat with capacity for 30 or LO ople at a time and interested in furnishing such transportation at price. I will have to make inquiry and then let you know. 'i'his will prob bly be some two weeks from now as I am leaving this afternoon for ten days on Audubon business. I note what you ay about your perh&ps being available for National Audubon summer work starting in the summer of 19$8. We will certainly bear that in mind, Bobo It is too far off now for us to have any plans. With be t wish JHBie Sincerely yours, John H. B ker President


Mr. John Baker National Audubon Society 1000 Fifth Ave, New York. Dear Mr. Baker: Ma:rch 15, 1957 I have been asked to conduct severa:l groups off teachers and garden clubs on a trip to see the Roseate> Spoonbills at the Vingt-Un SanctuaFy. Could you send me the proper application blanks, and information concerning Wwden supervision, also who .t'urnishea boat fon 30 to 40 people at a Thank you for this information. With highest regards Robel't A Vines, 8515 Friendship Houston (24) Texas Note -Incidently I am no longer with the Houston Museum of Natural History but am Science Supervisor for the Spring Branch School District. I might be interested in some position with the National dubon during the summers starting in the Summer of 1958. I will have the months of June, Ju2y and half of August open.. Perhaps I could serve as warden of the Vingt Un area, or perform some other usef'ul service for the Society during the summers (This sumer I am t:Led up because my book on So1lllthwestern Trees and Shrubs will be published by the u. of Texas Pre .}


Mr. Louie E. Rawalt 4026 Willow Drive Corpus Chriat11 Texae Dear Louist February 9, 1956 Confirlling our conversation three weeke ago at Corpus, the Society asks you, nd you agree, to proceed to Smith Point, Texas, to arrive on March 15, 1956 am stay there until replaced by one of our young wardens, who will come over from Miami toward the end of the Audubon Wildlife ?our program in Florida this spring {on or about April 15). Yo\l will take with you the boat trailer as it lrould probably COiie in bandy in moving the practically new boat of ours from its winter storage shed on Smith Point to \he water, but you will not need to tak w1 th y0u our 'boat, or outboard aotor in 10ur poseeaaion, aa there are both boat. and 15 H.P. practically new outboard motor at Smith Point. 'l'heae are etored on the property of A.E. {Buddie} Whitehead who has been oat cooperative with the Society through the years, and is a person of importance in hie locale. The Vingt-un Ialanda lie a mile or two oft Smith Point, and our wardens have usually arranged to rent quarters from Mr. and Mrs. Roeenquest, who have 1everal small buildings next the head or the creek where people keep their boats. The emal.1 store at Vingt-un Fishing Camp is owned by Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Riley, 698 Harriot Street, Beaumont, Texas, who are .frequently down there !iahing. The Rileya have been moat cooperative and are interested in bird protection. We think it good buainess to buy gasoline and oil from the Riley store, you to sign the slips which the store is to torward to us with monthly bill for payment. You will probably find that the nearest source of most food and other supplies is Anahuac. You know that the birds on the Vingt-un Islands were disturbed by well meaning people last spring just before our young warden got there. There is a poaeibility, of course, that they will not return this season, but I think that they will. No one should be allowed to land on the islands f'or any reason.


Mr. Louis E. Rawalt -2 .. February 9, 1956 It ie possible that so of the local characters may have had a hand in the disturbance, whether ailllultaneousl1 or at other times. That is a aatter on which you 111&1 be able to get a line after you have been there a little while and have gotten Neal Nelson, a crab fiahenaan who hange out around the island at ti.Ma, will probably, it he opena up, incrbdnate aoat of the other crab tiahel'll8n in the vioinit1 am the7 hill. 'l'he and Stevenson tud.liee at the Point, eapeoially Pub Plumer, are not well regarded. J. M. Sowell, storekeeper tor rancher Dawaon, who leases the atore tr J. H. Riley, wu nev lut ,ear and aeeaed like a good fellow. A peraon uch intereated in the protection ot the birda at the islands 11 Mrs. Helen Myatt, who ia frequently in aUJ11Der at her "Mockingbird Cottage" at Smith Point. (She ia a eater of Buddie Whitehead) and will be very much pleaHd that we have a man on the job by March 15 thie aeaaon. Robert Vines, the director ot the Houston MuaeUJll of Natural Hiatory, uauall7 lead8 a trip of 40 or 50 people to 1ee the birds each spring. I will be in touch with him to encourage him to go later than April, but last year he took a lot ot Garden Club ladies down there about Apr11 10, and I not poa1tive that he did not hav a hand in the disturbance, though I think not. Each spring a group ot natural ecienc etudent.e from Rice Inetitute go down there on a trip. It haa been di.f'ficult to get theae Texane to apply tor authorization trom ew Tork, and you doubtleee will hav to use your beat discretion at ti Aa long aa you keep people from landing or king too much ot a racket, blowing horn, etc. when near the ielandl Jl,Yerything will be, I aa sure, o.K. Cruisers trequently co over trom around Seabrook, and the well aeaning people aboard are apt to tey to go ashore unless the warden is on hand to explain to the th reason for not so doing. I think that ao t of the people that come dovn to fish in nearb7 waters are by now well ware of the aanotuary charact r of the ielanda and will not give you trouble. Not only will the Society take care of the xpen es of your round trip travel &o Corpus to Smith Point, but it will co penaate you for the period o! tim that you are awa7 trom Oorpua at. a rate per month $100 greater than your rate ot oompenaation while guarding the birda at South Bird IslandJ this because you will inevitabq have vhile at Smith Point lodging, if not food lxpemea higher than thoee that you experience living at hoae. In due course I will vrtte to Mr. Whitehead, Mr. and Mi-a. Riley, Mr. and Mra. Roaenqueat and Kra. Myatt, adviling them ot the tact that you will reach Smith Point on March 15. JHB:ea Sincerel1 youra, John H. Baker Preeident


Mr. Louis E. Rawalt Van-Ta-Un Grocery Star Route Anahauo, Texas Dear Louis: April 2, 1956 The news you send about the birds not nesting on the Vingt-un Islands is very disturbing. It looks as though they were continuing to feed in accustomed places over toward Lake Surprise, though nesting in West Bay. When, however, you state that in the mornings they fly over the islands in a northwesterly direction, that would hardly take them to st Bay, unlesa they changed course betveen the islands and :lest Bay, which I would say is southwest rather than northwest of the Vingt ... u.n Islands. There have been spoonbills every year in recent years Island, which we now have under lease and which is being watched on holidays and week-ends by H. Rehm, 5308 Avenue Qi, Galveston, Texas. Last year, after the colony at up, some spoonbills nested on Bird Island at the western end of est Bay, which is also watohed on holidays and week ... ends by :Mr. Reha I do not know just were Moody's is but will see if my show it. -------. Thank you !or having the sign made and lettered. It is good to know that both and motor were in perfect shape. I have instructed Mr. William J err, now at Miami, to proceed to Smith Point by April 15 or as soon thereafter as feasible, to relieve you I wrote to Mr. Roeenquest expressing great regret at hearing that Mrs. Rosenquest had had a stroke or heart attack, and asked him to let me know whether he would have suitable quarters for our warden at all this season I have had as yet no reply. JHBces Sincerely yours, John H. Baker President


Mr John B Baker National Audubon Society 1130 Fifth Ave New York 28, L Y Dear r Baker: Smiths Point .Maroh 27, 1956 There are more spoonbills arriving in thie vicinity but none are nesting 9n the islands. I have not seen any of' "t1ie eron nesting, I am told by .11.r Whitehead that there are some nesting in the tops of ot tm tall pines seven miles northwest of here. In the mornings the spoonbills come from the circle the island and continue in a west-northwest direction, in the evenings it is reversed. This places them going to West Bay, the other aide of in the morn ings, where commercial fishermen report them nesting on Oeer Island an ood Point. There are about 125 white j ibis ooming to the island late in the evenings and leaving in the early merninga, no sign of tht'!ll nesting. I have built a sign whioh I will take to Anahuac s.nd have lettered. The boat and motor were in perfect shape, they had not been unorated since arr va as year.


Mr. Louis E Rawalt 4026 Willow Drive Corpus Christi, Texas Dear Louisi April 24, 1956 Many thanks for the information contained in your letter of April 19. I gather from letter from Jerr that you hurried back to Corpus on receiving word of serious illness ot your mother I sincerely trust that she has recovered. You knew in advance that you were tackling at Smith Point a job that involved re-establishing good relation& with some, if not all, of the local people, and I gather trom what Jerr writes me that h e ve17 qu1ckl gained the locally that you had succeeded in hat ard-. Although the tour legged predators which y u eliminated from the island may have had a reducing ettect, to soll8 degree, I certainly don't believe that they would have caused the nesting birds to have left the islands last year. That, apparently, is one of the locally held theories. What you write ie the firet I have heard of any photographer named Schmidt setting up an elaborate blind, spending a lot of time photographing at.the islands. Jerr is going, or by now baa been to1Houston to check up in the morgue ot the Houston Chronicle as to the date of appearance o! Schmidt's picturea in that paper, and run down the names of any personnel connected with the publication o! any aooompanying article. It eeema a little difficult to believe that auch photographic eftort could have been oarr1ed,.-9n at the islands during the time that our wardens of 19.54 or 1955 were at the foint. The birds do get to the isl.ands before the Jdddle of April and iln both of those years we did not succeed in getting a warden on the job -u:iltil about April 15. Now ea regards the girl scout expedition, I myself checked up last June with one of the state wardens who took them out, and with the girl scout leader who had induced the state wardens to take out the group, and there is in my mind no doubt whatever as to that visit to the islands having been a major factor in the abandonment by the birds last year; this regardless of what som of the local people may now say.


Mr. Louis E. Rawalt 2 -April 24, 19'6 However, there may well have been other substantial contributing factors and judging from what you write, I ontatnly suspect that the taking of some of the young birds for orab bait may well have been an important one If that, however were the major factor, why didn t we have the same trouble in earlier years when our wardens didn't get there until the middle of April? Aa tor visitation by any boats on which the horns were blown to get the birds up, I do not doubt that for a minute, but there again I find. it hard to believe that that took place in any volume, unleH prior to April 15 or each year when we had no wardena on the job Aa you know, that boy ve sent down there in 1955 r eally had to do for six weekll or so, because the birds had already left the islands before his arrival. He spent hi.a ti.Me scouting around to find out, if he could where they had gone. I will decid e a little later what to ask Bill Jerr to do if the birds are not going to nest there t his aeaaon. I hope you agree with me from your brief contact with him that Jerr 1a a fine young man, with a nice aenee of public relat1ona1and high principles of conductJthat we should e?Xieavor to retain in the Society' s aervice. Whatever else he may do, I shall ask him to take a trip down the coast aome time between now and mid-July to visit all of our other aanotuariea and meet all of our other wardens Here s hoping that no disturbance took place at South Bird Island during your absence. No doubt I shall hear from you about that very soon JHBtea Sincerely yours John H Baker President


I M r John H Baker Cor pus C h April 1 9 1 956 National Audubon Society 1130 Fifth Ave New York 28, N Y Dear Mr Baker: r Jerr arrived the evening of the 16th, I briefed himon conditions and took him to the island on the 17th. Mrs Rosenquist remains in very poor conditio n s pending most of her time under an oxygen mask 1 so there was no room available at there place, and since Bill Jerr had not marrie d I advised him to take the place I had M r Desomeaux who manages the store for D awson. I flew the surronding coun try with Buddie Whitehead from Wallisville on the Trinity River to Sabine B a y to the east covering all the islands and marsh lands, I aw no concentration of s poonbills, in fact I saw v ery few feeding, thru the rice fields the white ibis are quite numerous. A few wood ibi.s.. arJ in. the tJ"ees above Wallisville on Trinity River and in a o e bDut a mile southwest of Whithead' a place, e rets herQ.lls am ibis are nesting. I contacted tug boat captains and commercial s eI]len for information in other areas and the concensu a of from seeing the so m e nesting on what must be Deer Island in West Bay I trailed the boat to igh Island, launched it in the intracoastal canal and cruised all the surrounding bay s and bayous both East West saw nothing that could be nesting excep t black skimmers and herons. Vingt-Tun isle. nds remain the same, no birds. On April 16th I counted 1 0 3 spoonbills o n the east end of the island, they remained two days. I dont know whether they were intending to nest. The 16th the Independent Exploration Company of Houston ran a line about 700 feet from the island ana shot dynamite charges. The birds were not there the morn ing of the 17th. I cultivated the friendship of the commercial fishermen and o yster men in t he surrounding area s and got so m e facts and stories;


Baker #=2 During the time when the nesting birds have young some of the crab fishermen are using the young birds fQr bait. The usual number of orab traps used by one man are 4 0 to 50, these are baited every other day and the speoie used are those nearest the trap line. Th.e old time crab fisherman preferred the young blaok skimmers because they nested on the shores of the small barren reOf's and were easier to oatoh. Thia ractioe is still in vogue among the present generation of some of the old families. There a no young tn the area at present time whioh gave me no ohanoe to cheok and b e witness to the faot. I don't beleive anyone is shooting the old birds to use for bait as they would be attracting attention and second it would be neoessary for them to pick birds before they oould be used for bait, this would take time and time is essential to any one doing an unlawfull act. ,Prooeedure The popular/among the cqarter bo ts froa ouston Seabrook and sve'Ston is to get in close to the island, fire a gun in the air and turn on their sirens so the birds wi ty above the trees, pictures are the paid pass engers emit their Oh's and Ah's and fee l their money has been well spent. A Mr Sohimdt who wore a patch on his shoulder that "look ed like mine" had one of the local fisherman helphim build two blinds on the island for photographing the birds. He stayed about two weeks going out every day in the b1ind1. The blinds were built on the W$8t end of the lakes six cedar posts eight feet long, two set prallel at five oo intervals, spaced so four foot pioket fenoing could be red between. ese were eaoh ten foot long. He lay on one ana ad another above whioh he with branoaes from the trees. He was also "a nut" for mounting all kinds of' birds. The last statement When I ask how he got the bird skins, 11well he just used the dead ones he found, but he sure found lots of them". Two weeks after he left iotures and story appeared in the Sun ay edition of one of the Houston papers. "The next week-end the boats from aoross the bay were so thiok that we would'nt even try to go out". This seems to have taken plaoe during the 1954 season. I took the blinds down, for idea of size, it required to trip s to carlj" the material. I found one eye witness account of the scout landing, three boats, girl and boy soouts, got as olose as possible the boy scouts ump ed overboard in water up to their waists and waded ashore. There was a ooast guard boat, evidently an esoort, with them.which anohored off about 500 feet.


Baker# 3 Local complaints are mostly against the wardens w ho are sent down to protect the islands. Sprunt in their estimation was the last one that seeir ed to have any interest in the patrolling of the island. The last war den they say spent most of his time chasing the teen age girls and the trips that he made were with them. Wardens that do not mix well wi t h the peo ple or have an understanding of their way of life are ''furrinners" and will get no hel from them. I am speaking of those who make their livings from the surrounding waters. M r Dawson is non commitabile on the subject, saying he has not been in direct contact with the situation until the last year. I elimanated the four leg predators, three coons and a fox. You have a few market hunters in the area but I could not get anything more definite than a few hints. Among these one the cajuns consider the whit ibis a curlew, and say that the are verY. good eating. The e ggs are very good when you can get them fresh but so many have to be gathered1taken in an:i candled for the freshesso When all depredations are a d ded it is a wonder that there are any nesting birds in Trinity or East Bay, and from observation I doubt there will be any nesting colonies except those on the mainland. I certainly hope that the information I have written will be of some benefit towards the returning of the birds to their nesting grounds and thetr protection while there. I will not make any suggestinns at this time for a remedy to the situation. Sincerely yours M r Jerr ask me to s e nd him a cop y of this report I am leaving that to v ou as you will probably wish to make some comments


Mr. Louis E. Rawalt 4026 Willow Prive Corpus Christi, Texu Dear Louis: v' JAN 15 1957 January l.4, 1957 Enclosed is a cow of letter to Mr. Campbell Of Texas Eastern Transmission Corp. which giv you, I think, all the necessary intormation,. I do not think that should attempt to get the location of the pipeline altered. The imponant. thing is that they get it laid and in operation ; presumably before M arch l, and that the contractor and his crew be interested in avo1d1ug .arq possible disturbance to the birds on the ialand or flying in groupe thereto.. It ia quite possible that 'txas Eastern people ma;y do nothing about inatructlng the contractor, in which case it will be up to you to enlist the intenet or the contractor and his crew. We have usually to\UKI that that works. Its a little bit more di.ttioult to do before the birdl get to the island in numben than it ia when they are there. JBB1e1 encl. Ever sincerely, John H. Baker President


M r John H Baker Corpus Christi, Texas January 7 1957 National Audubon Society 1130 Firth Ave New York 28, N Y Dear Mr Baker: I sat in on a meeting between the olfllera of Padre Island and the Texas Eastern Tran1-mission Corp on the laying of the pipeline acrosa Padre lalani and the Laguna Madre, on looking at thete maps it shows that the line will pasa about 460 rt rrom the north end of South Bird Island. The plans call for starting the lay ing of the line from the Gulf beach towards the Laguna this month or as aoon as the right of way oan be negotiated with the Padre Island owners,which may throw taem starting the laat of thi s month or the first of February. The white s wil,.l start nesting the i t.r.Qh. I told their to get in touoh with you as to the area of the lease on South 8ird Island, also as to your reaction on the time they would be crossing that particular area. Their agent and address; P.J.Woodward, Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, P 0 Box 7332, Corpus Christi, Texas.


r John H Baker Corpus Christi, Texas Nov lti, 1956 National Society 1130 Fifth Ave New Y ork 28, N Y Dear Mr Baker: From the engineers doing the field work in the Laguna, the man to contact is, r James H Campbell, Tennessee Transmission Co Box 208 Corpus Christi, Te xas. Mr Campbell istheir representative for the Gulf Coast area. They have set no line immediately north of the island but by eye meaSU8eD1.ent it looks to be around 750 feet. The line runs from the Laguna shore of Padre Island to the Pa.nhad.dl e docks(formally Pure Oil Co) on Laureles ranch shore. I do not know when intend to start laying the line.


Mr. Louis E. Rawalt 4026 'illow Drive Corpus Christi, Texas Dear Louis: November 7, 1956 1e do not carry insurance on outboard motors against damage to the J am sorry that ou hit a submerged object and dam.aged the lower unit of the motor It will have to be repaired. Thank you for informing me about the location of the pipeline of Texas Eastern where it crosses the Laguna Madre. You state that the line Texas Eastern is running passes about 1500' north of the island; in other words, well over a quarter of a mile. Offhand then, Louis, I would not think that the existence of that pipeline at that distance would cause any harm to the birds at South Bird Ialand. However, a good. deal might depend upon the season at which the laying or the pipe 1s to be done and the approach routes for the personnel and mattirial on that job. Let me know what you can find out .further about this u.nd l hat the .t\ill name, and office address o:f Texas Eastern are, as well as, it possible, the full na.n1e of the pre1:1ident, and whether or not he is to be located at the office dress that you give. JFJB: es Ever sincerely, John H Baker President


. --1 /V c> 1' M r John H BaKer National A u d ubon Society 1130 Fifth Ave N e w York 28, N Y Dear r Baker: I was told by reliable sources that the $Jl..l:Vey or a lateral pipe Standard Oil Co tanks on Pad r e Island to e marn an crossing the Laguna adre in the area of Bird Island Yesterday I was down there, the line y are running passes about 15 0 0 feet nort of the island. Returning from the island I hit a submerged object and damag,ed the lower unit of the motor. I took the tu Emm.ord Marine Supply, 4402 L exington Blvd., for repair, they informed me that if the motor is insured -the insurance company should be notified, so thefr adjuster could check the damage. I do not know the n8llle of the Co m pany. Would appreciate this information by return mail. The white pelicans are spenrling the winter on the Oso along with 93 spoonbills, they remain in the same place, where the effluent from the disposal plant enters the Oso. ., Thankin g you in a dvance for this information. Sincerely, / I.


Mr. Robert A. Vines, Director Museum of History Hermann Park Houston, Texas Dear March 21, 1956 Vingt,-un Islands Warden Louis Rawalt 1of Corpus Christi, has bee n at Smith Point since the middle of this month as our seasonal warden for the Vingt-un Islands. He will be succe eded, some time in mid-April, by William A. Jerr, who is presently conducting Audubon wildlife tours out of Miami. Rawal t will then return .to his regular seasonal job near Corpus Christi. have put a man at the Islands a month earlier thBn usual because of the unfortunate incident a year ago, when the entire nesting colony of birds at the 7ingt-un Islands lter e so disturbed7 some three days prior to the arrival of our seasonal warden, tha,t they all aba n doned t e place for the season. We sincerely trua t that / .following their hereditary instincts, or whatever, thev may.again ne5t i n great quantity at the islands this year. !n any event, w e are going to have to ask !or the cooperation of our friends, such as you, in complving with our regular authorized v1eitor system, i.n the event that you or a group under your control wi s h to visit the islands to see the birds this o r later sea.sons. From the enclosures you will see what the regular procedure is. Under the provisions of legislation adopted by the State ot Texas last spring, the Vingt-un Islands are now one of the areas under SO year lease to the Society for bird protective purposes. Our wardens are not to allow an y landing on the islands during the nesting season or, for that matter, a reasonable period of time prior to the actual building of nests and laying or eggs. As you know, birds may be seen to fine advantage from a boat quite a short distance offshore without disturbing them. Our warden will, as usual, only have a small boat wi. th outboard and could not take more than three, and preferably two1additional persons with him in that boat. For any larger party, arrangement's would have to be made with others at Smith Point just as you have done in many prior years. .. Sorry our paths have not crossed recently. Hope to see you soon Best wishes, JHB:ea encl. Sincerely, John H. Baker, President


Mr. Robert A Vines, Director Museum ol Natural History Hermann Park Houston, Texa Dear Bob: June 30, 1955 Vingt-un Islands You are doubtless familiar with the tragedy that occurred at these islands this spring, three days before our seasonal warden arrived and five days, I think, art r your tour with members of the Garden Club of Houston In any event, 1t was on the 17th of April that the regional supervisor of the Fish s.nd Game Commission,, Frank Mebane in response to an ppeal from the leader of a girl scout troop o! the Houston area, made arrangements to take three boatloads of girl scouts and their leaders to the islands, with a Coast Guard boat standing by in case of emergency. Of course, he had no authority to take them in the first place, as the Fish and G Commission long since o.tficially delegated full authority to our Society to protect the birds at the Vingt-un Islands and to control visitation and the issuance of such regulations and permits aa we might decide necessary and desirable. Our system works very well wherever in effect, but evidently we are going to have to do two things another year; namely, one, have our seasonal warden at the islands beginning a great deal earlier than the middle of April and, two, advise all agencies in the Houston area likely to want to arrange for trips to the islands that they must obtain an advance written authorization for a specific date and number of people from the New York Of fie of National Audubon Society 1 and p y v r rules and regulations the Audubon warden at the location may prescribe. The Fish and Game Commission, which !eels badly about the incident, will undcubtedl duly inform its employees in the greater Houston..Oalveeton area so that t. hey w'l.11 surely know hereafter that they have no jurisdiction and authority with regard to the Audubon sanctuary' islands. Included among such agencies will have to be, of course, your museum and Rice University, for example, both of which have, I think, been to just make arrangements with one of the people at Smith Point to take tho m out on the desired date, and have not troubled to clear with our Society in advance. Such clearing involves no appreciable trouble and presents no complications, but it it is not done many complications may ensue at Smith Point I enclose copy of the form of authorization we us e all over the country,, as well as of the instruction sheet we send to each authorized visitor.


Mr. Robert A Vines 2 -June 30, 1955 Returning to the incident of April 17, the unfortunate pa.rt of it was that Mebane allowed, if he did not encourage, all those kids and their leaders to go ashore and spend about an hour walking all over the place, shouting and yellingJ this at a date when the spoonbills, for example, are pairing and building nests and particularly susceptible to disturbance. All of the birds on the big island abandoned it, and we shall earnestly hope will return to it in the early spring o! 1956. Having looked into the matter personally with some care when I was recently on the Texas coast, I learned that you and your group of ladies stayed well oft the island on the boat, just as I would have been sure you would require. Now Bob, ha;d you observed any evidence of damage to the bird nesting colony on the big island when you were there on April 12? I would b e very much interested in your writing me of your observations, because it is just possible that the girl scout group were not solely responsible but that there may have been some earlier contributing factor. There are several very irresponsible people living at Smith Point, but I doubt whether any of them were actually involved, though they all very ready to incriminate each other. JHB:es Ever sincerely, John H Baker President


General Delivery Tavernier, Florida October 1, 1957 Mr. John H. Baker National Audub on Societ y 1130 Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. Dear Mr. Baker, We are still working on the boa ts. I have finished work on the "Pink Curlew" and the skiff and am presently painting t he"Flamingo.11 As the weather has been inclement a good deal of the time, I have alo been helping Bob i n his office. Sincerely, John Davis


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Mr. John Baker President National Audubon Society 1130 Fifth Avenue New York, New York Dear Mr. Baker, General Delivery Tavernier, Florida September 14, 1957 Thursday Islands are most easily accessible from Chrisley's Drive-In Fishing Camp, Tri-City Beach, south of Baytown (Bill Jerr can pin-point it for you.) Chrisley owns and operates the place. As I understood it, the arrangement was to watch over the island when I could, probably once a week to make sure people were not molesting the birds or landing on the island, and to take care of the signs. Incidently, I bought the four poles and nuts and bolts. Concerning Yramategui, I don't know what's happening. I called several times, and he was either "out and I don't know when he'll be back, 11 or I got no answer. I wrote three or four times and never had any reply. So I don t know what the current understanding is between { National Audubon Society and Houston Outdoor Nature Club. For t he past wee k I have been painting and repairing the boats, and studying the bay and the keys The weather has been an almost constant hindrance, with rain nearly every day. JD/fd Sincerely, (7 L %----L


r. J obn Davia General DeliveJ7 Tavernier, Fla. ar Johns Septenber 6, 19S7 / I have just noticed that in one ot your dally reports you reter to going to the Thursday Islands at Baytown to remove signs 'Which you found in good condition, and that you lett the aigna and bol ta with Chrialey. M y only purpoae in writing ia to say that it is my understanding that the reeponaibility tor protection or the birds on the Thursday !elands is that ot the HoU11ton Outdoor Nature Club, and not of our Society. The sip belong to them and I c:b not knov who Chrisley is. However, it is my underatanding that Bill Jerr had ottered to cooperate with the Club b7 arrangnent with lramategui, and I, therefore, usune that your going the and doing 11\at you did vu done at Yrategui 's requeat, ea a matter ot cooperation with th Club. I would like word fl"an you in answer to thia so that at the beginning ot the next warden aeuon at the Vingt .. un Ialandl thc-e Will be no poeaible doubt aa to exactl.T what the relationship 1a betvM:l our Society and the Club with relation to the protection of the birds at the Thuraday ielanda. JHBa SincC"ely youre John H. Baker Preaid81t


'r. John Davia General Del.iv ey Tavernier Fla. Dear John: A'llgUSt 2.3, 19$7 'l'.hank you for sending me the sketch and photo apha of the present appearance of the big island. !t certainly indicates that there has been a eey substantial change in that island, not only this s1 er, but over a period ot yeare. I auppoae that vhat has been lost oft the north end is being gained on the south end, which undoubtedly will ha'fe vegetation on it in due course. I am rather disturbed, however, over the potentiality of break-up of the island into small parts now that the interior marsh has become so extended and exposed. ow, John, although you are not on a is right now where 1fe would ask for your sending in the usual warden's weekly report .forma with brief mention of daily activities, I would appreciate it it you would write me at least once a wek, gi"fing me a briet account ot vbat you haTe been doing in your wort tor the Society; this independently of anythin g that r. Allen ay happen to write me also. JHBtea Sincerely yours, John H Baker President


Mr'. John Davis c/o Robert P,.. Allen Box 205 Tave ,mier 1 Fla. Dear Johtu I am very glad that i \. v as agreeable to you to underteJce the es1grunent in south 'lorida now. There va.e not time receiving your letter for a reply frolll me reach in Texas and l a ateume you lett ,ee, t,erday t r Ke. La:rgci, and that :Yt>ttr reports on the wind up at the Vingf5'un Island.a are on their way to me now. Mr. allen wa. hero recently and assund Ile that he and Mre. Allen l)Uld be on the look...out promptly .for quarters in Tavemier that you could probably affoJl"d,and added that they would be gl:ad to put. YQU 'lP at their home for shQ-rt time arter your arrival. You ue to take i:netru.cti .Gln& from Mr. Allen and serve \U\til turther notice a.s an assistant to him in hie predent work ., He is not tD do anythin g t.renuoua, such a a lifting, pu.ehing or p ling, It he avoids being str-enu.ous he will apparently be all right, so that you can see 'What the work 1 that ls cut out tor JOU JHBf E!lt Sire erel.y yours, John H Baker1 Preeid.ent


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July 311 1957 DUM TO BENJ IN1 I ve rrang d that John Davis,. s caso l warden at the Vingt n I lands, Ti xas throug h July 19th, proceed to avernier, F'lorida to wor as an as is nt to Bob Allen until further notice. I 10 uld say that one b lf of h i cost of travel for h elf, is wife an c hild, fro Smith Point, Tex to Tav rnier, Florida, should be tr ted as a charg e t o th S nctua?7 Fund, and on -h lf to research. His compe s Ation r t e on hi new assign m t will romain the sa e s it was t e in t'un IsJ.a nds. I will ve to dvise you late r as to 10ther o r not the Society 111 pay a certain a ount monthly for his r tal of lodg at 'favernier. I a uspeot that we ld.11 have to, and at much the rate as has p revailed at Point, Tma during the r cent Et on The Davis family will probably be the guests of the Robert Allens for at least few day rter their rr1val at Tav rnier. JHB/ John H. Baker President


Mr. John vie % Van Ta Ufl Star Route Anahuac, Texaa Dear Johna ---July 22 1957 I have your letter ot July 19th about leaving the boat 1n good ah.ape. I appr:>ve of ylur paying 45 on our account for material It y ou do not have suff'1c1 ent petty cash, juat arrange with the supplier, if you oan, to bill. ua on bill or slip vi'th your approval on it, and 1 t Wil l be promptly paid. do t hia the intorr:-s tion that I have f'rom oo:e of our experienced wardena about .g tine pa1nt for ou r boct.e ae aamonBtrated by hi'! wse in west llorida vatent; ws sent by me to Warden Lanson at Groen "'al.and Texae to retum; and has not yet been returned. I trust y ur j udgment in t h111 matter an d app ciate your willingness to d.o the painting job, which 1s something y ou are exp e rienced at. I will no w be away for three dYli but pate, by Friday reply to my l tter about y our g oing to T a vernierj Florid a JHB/em Dictated but not read Sincerely yours John H Baker President


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Mr. John Davi V ntoon 1 hlng Ca p St r Route i c T xa Dear John: .July l7, 1957 I have bran new 1 e Robert Al en of our tatf 1 1tt1ng h re with me now. H1 physlcal oond1t1on 1 uch th t he w1ll no longer be able to do nythlng strenuous such a pull1n or pushing bo t carrying motors, or any vigorous l1ft1n pueh1ng er pulling. It oocur to m that we 1ght ask yoQ to o to Tavernier, Florida, on Key Largo, as oon a you feel th t you can leav th V1ngt-un n-stln birds this se son. We would compens te you for your travel expense, and that of your fa 1ly, from Smith. ?o1nt to 1'o.vern1er. The Allens would be on the lookout for furn.1shed eu;comm.odat1ons for you 1n that r on terms that you could presu bly ff ord and would be prepared, I bell ve, to put you up for a tew d y pending your olosing at1sfaatory rrangements. It you o thls you would or course be under h1s d1rect1on 1n oonneotlon with. his tud.1es of th water birds ot' South Florida, or other topic and we would deo1d.e lat r whether to let you on 1n th t capao1ty fter bout Dec ber l, or wheth r we would prefer to ask you to erve as a station wagon an bo t tour l ader for us during the w1nt r and arly spr1ng se son, operat1n out of' M1 m1; all thi of course, contlng nt upon mutual sat1sfaot1on as to your a rv1oes. but we would be w1111ng to p y up to 60 a onth for your housing in Tavernier, h1ch I th1nk 1s wbat e greed to p y tor your \ 1 e would nQt 1eh to p y you ore than you ar now reo 1v1ng, hou 1ng t Sm1 th Polnt. If, th n, you have not dy made other arrange ents tor tem porary work 1n th r a, I think tklat what I propose would ppe l to you. Ple se let me now by return mail whether


-2-r John D v1 July 17, 1957 we m y count on you, and how oon you think 1t would be teas1ble yo u to start for Florida. eb co: r. Bob rt P Allen Sincerely, John H. Baker President


Mr. J"ohn Davis Vantoon Fishing Ca p Star Route l n:ahua.c 'I'e.xas Dear John: July l?, 1957 I ha e a. n e 1 e 13. oert l- of our o:1taff 1 s sitting here with me now. Hla physloal ocnd1t1on 1 such that he will no longer b .... ablo to d.o anything strenuous suoh as pulllng or pusr1ing boats, carrylng motors, or any vigoro' lifting, puzhlr.g or pulling. It occurs to taat we ml&ht s you to o to T vern1er, Florida, on Key Largo, as soon as you feel that you can the V1ngt-un nestin6 lrds tal season. l e woulC. compensate yo\.l !'or your travel axpense, and that of your family, fl'.OJl 3 1th fo1nt to 'l'a9'ern1er. r.rhe llens would be on tne lookout for furnished tlone for you i.a t.1at ::irea on ter.11s tnut you c.:>ul pre&u.ini: .-oly fford and. would. be prepared, l elieve. to put ycu up for few days yout clo..;. lng sat 1sfa.otory arrangements. If you do this you w ould ;:)f course be under hl-3 d1rect1on 1n conneot1on wlth h1s studies of the water b1rds of South Florida\< or other topics, and we would decide later whether to let you g o on 1n that oapao1ty after about D ecember 1 or w hether we would pref r to ask you to serve as a statlon wagon and boat tour leader for us dur1 the and rly spring ea.son, operating out of M1am1; all th1s, of course, contingent upon mutual sat1sfaot1on as to your arvloes. would not wlsb to p y you more than you ara now reoe1v1ng, but would be 1ll1ng to pay up to a month for your housing 1n Tavernier, wh1ch I think is what we agreed to pay for your housing at Smith Po!nt. If, then, you have not alra dy made other arrange ents for t mporary work 1n the Houston area, I think that what I propose would l to you. Please let me know by return ma11 whether


-2-M r John Davis July 17, 19.57 we may count on you, and how soon you th1nk 1 t would be feasible for you to start for Florlda. eb oc: M r Robert P Allen Sincerely, John H Baker President


r. John Davis V an .. ta-un Oroeer:v tar Route Anahuac:; T.exu Dear Johns July 16, 1957 irst let m say that be gl d to have-you tdn on the job at the Vingt-un Islands through the balanc of July, as long you .find that there is a need of our protecting the V1ngt-un bird nesting eolony that long. lt was my iapr sion, when I vu there in June; that the birds are quite l.ate w1 th their nesting this year, and that it, may well extend throuf#lout July. Nov I think that you are wll qualitid to serve as an Audubon Wildlite Tour leader on statim wagon &.Rd boat toure in Florida. The difficulty is that they don't .get 'Underway before the 1'iret of Decfl!'llber, and ve have nothing to keep you bu91 with fram August l to Decanber 1. Is it poa ibl that. yoo might like to take eane tanporary employm. t during tba t four nion th pe.r1t>d in the Houston area, as you have in the put? In that event, we would be willing to pay your travel ex:penae, preeum bq in your own car, .fr(!l!l f exaa to th iami area; and it thinga went alo to mutual we would ask you to again serve aa a easonal warden, probabq in Tena, :t'rom about April l through the nesting season or 1958.. We would then, unless an opening develops,. be up against th same prOblem as we are at t.he manent with f'egard to tour t11cnths in the late auinmer and tall. If ;you were to do thia, wt would, or course, care of ell tr&11Sportation costs in con.ftection vi th rturn to 'l'exaa in 1956 and would preaum.ably furnish you wi t.h one et the tour w ona in which to go back and forth. As far a.a comptn.1at1on rate ia concel"ned1 we could not pay you in excess of the preeent rate aa a new tour lead4W, because that is the rate that applies when we take men oa the first tm. for that job, and could not :risk making exceptions without azoouaing bad feeling. However, it thing:a wen\ well through the tour \ eason, 11e would gladly g!e you some i _noruae in rai. at the time you reaume a asonal wardenahip job in'the spring ot 1958. I think what you do all depends on how seriou-sly desirous you may be of trying to d9velop perraanent e!.'llplo11nent by the Society.


-2 Jul.J 16, 19S7 How u regarda winding thinge up at Vingt-un this .... on -there are no sign to tack aa:y, but 700. 111.ll haYe to arrange about a torage of the boat and aotal', tool.a tor eae, etc. I .., not at all aats..tied with the vq 1n vh1ch t.hat aatter vu lett lut eeuon. for aenral 1n ptior to that t.he Wh.1teheadil vere kind enough to our boat and aotor 1n one ot their st.dis and not charge ua q-thtng. .._ would have been willing to a reasonable aall charge, but the Whi teheada would not pend t ue to. I told th mon than once that w do not .Uh to ilftpoee on tha and use apace 'rlttelf.S needed tor agrioul. tun1 mach11*7 or other J'Ul'PO' I h&Te had a fling t.M. t the r .. on wbJ' tbq did not urge WI to repeat lut tall and winter vu becauae ot their not llling acnething that bad tranapired down th ... and in which one ot our r9)reeentatb m.q haTe bee inYolTed. The motcr abodd be left in good gr ... ed condition 80 that it Will not ruet OTG" the winter. Jou had better look into the aatter ot arrang811lent tor the coming winter now ao that lit probl.1 you will have time to communicate with me about it. In 7our nport for June 29 you 1ay, 11Nortb end ot Island washed out four to six teet O'Yer 45 shoreline. 11 I 100. would draw e a sketch so that it vUl be pe:rtectl.7 clear to jUat vbere the vaehout bu taken place. You don't haT to haTe the lhoreline on the ketch abeoluteJ. accurate. I tailiar enough 1fit.h the ialmd ao that it 1'111 be clear just ldiat you aean it 7wr drawing u roughq acount.e. I take it that you aean that the ialand b8I lost trom li to 6 at it. northern end, eaa 1-tw OYer an area runnin g about 4S' !ran eut to wet. To vbat utent, howeYer, has that vuhed out etated area, as distinct froa aand beach and bu? -JHB1 .. Sincere'.cy" youra John H. Baker President


Mr. Jahn Davis Van-ta-un Groceey Star Route nabuac, lexaa Dear Johna July 9, 19$7 I very Nlived to hear that you and your 11 ttle did not au:f'far from the hurricane,, and that you wre via enough to get out of it.a path in adfance. I will wrii. "r 'Whitehead note expn.Ming regret on learning that he loat aane of hia be utitul tin Thank you for having menditd whatever a.a u done to out" boat. Nov normally /tll nesting would be over at Vingt-un Ialandll th midcll.e ot thilt aontb, or ay, a week fr todq, eo I vould aay that there ia no point in putting up neV' eign1 thia Staler; whether large or amal.1. I howvr Qlle ot the birda nmJ begin to reneat, with 1ndicationa that quite a few of t.h will be there tor ,., weelat ye t, tha -dlt be a ditt nnt toJ.'7 I have been intending to vr1 te you before thia about 1'hether we could off fir 7w an extenaion of job bqond the Job at Vingt-u, when 1 t no longtr needis /) JO'Ul'" protection -.. uon. .i.t the ent I Ye nothing definite in irid, i \<1 c=d teaaible ay ot so doing. JBBa .. John H. Bak_. President


. /(\"" :).> &kef", .k .. r j '\ Q. + O\o\ .Jl Pt v cl b D.., s:;,;, c-f j ,, 0 ' A N .. .u Ya..-k. 1'\.'Y c(d y,,_ To. lJ"', ..... 1\-.a.hvi;.c ... < Th ...... \.. ()""' '()our c.o,," \-)owe \/t.r, "'"' ce. u:--e.. \...._.L. e..l t\.e dor""' hit l'io Olle r .I t I \ ... ...._J v.> $ 'W\O d.ero."h&. 011 .;:) ,..,"ti\ ,-o,,. .... l"lv +ht. V,,.a.TIJ,. ca\o.,..J 1"10-t 0.S o.s. "" \.ta.\. urec.h.4, b.,r OS Jou auif"'' +eJ. -tt.e. <;;,1c.1.,,. ... ""G.." ... or \.. ;c.. r'!!!Q; S r""' b cl Is-, "'"d ?-00 550


\hen-o "'e. \.....-,c. s 5"' o., +\.-e. So..f\ .sT J. \s\o.."d. k-"ora. tk_ b..t,r "'"-' 1 low ... 0... -H.e. '"""' 4 .,,..,_,,.c ca..\\ S''i"'i o,..L post-s ._ H,..,..k. O O V 0o..,r 1!.0Y>C.U'"'


Mr. John Davis Van-ta-un Grocery Star Route Anahuac, T Dear Johns June 1957 Under separate cover you will receive an additional supply of postin s1gna, but aa tar u th larger s1 are concerned, we have always had th made l.ocall7. My observation vu that there i8 only one or the three now existing on the main Vingt-un Island, but that the post.a for them are still 1n place. I 'Will uk JU,Jl., Jer.r What he did wit.b th signs when he left last year, and let you know. It 1a sibl that two of th are in torage SOJ'llewhere t the Point, though I doubt it. I think it a bit late in this ye rs season to order and put up new i but in your r port with rec endations at the end of thil pr sent tour ot dutJ' of yours, please put in a note that so many signs of such and uch sise will be needed at th outset of the 1958 season, and give us the wording that appeare on the ez1s ting ai JBB1 I Sincerely your John H Baker President


Mr. John vis, Jr. Van Toon Groc r.r S r Route Anahuac, Texa Dear Johna J 29, l 9S7 W e all pray that OU am yours c me through the blow safely. No doubt I shall h r from you at any morient I know of n way of getting t h rough to you by phone. It would be hope tlia t you had sufficient w rning to o your wife nd baby to Houston or elsewhere inland before t h e hurrican broke. Let know not only about yourself but bout our o th r triend at Smith Point, where I imagine so e of the buildings may v 11 have uffered from the s tom. I am prepared for bad new with regard to tha bird& that v re on the nesting islands, but will hope tor the est. D age from the storm well have b en worse t Oll.chri t and you will no doubt check on that in due course. l suspect that the road in the viointt:v mayw 11 be blocked for many d ys with debris, if not by tire houses barges, etc. I Will also want to know w'aether our bo t and motor survived in good &hap Th:l e ust h v been quit a christ riing f r yo a s you no oubt have never experienced a hurricane blow before, and I J"epeat hot hop e th t y u rxl ;your are all right. JHB/ Ever einc"rely, John H. B ker Pre ident


Mr. John Dam Van-ta-un ChtOCel"J' Star Route Atahuac, Tena Dear Johns June 27, 19$7 Bill Jerr &JI tha\ aocOl'ding to hi recollection thC" were neTe but tvo big 1igne on the larger ot the Vingt-un Ialanda. He underetood of the had blown &W.7 in a atorm and that the other vu 10 be taken .. iD b1' Pl:.wnC", but he, ot courae, would not now tor 11\Jre vhe ePl\Bll_. took 1 t in or not. Am I not r1'1t tht t.he sip pr .. entl7 u pllOe 11 on the veat aide or the island? You llight draw me a 11 ttl.e eketch ehow:ing vhwe pneent sign 1e located, and where, if a\ &1.11 poatll tor aign. or 1igns are still in place. JHB1e1 Sincerely, John H. Bak_. President


M.-. John Dana Vtm:ta..-un 01'00 ry Star Rout Anahuac, 'I oas Dear Jobnt J'U:M 20, l9S 7 It vas good aee-ing you, and I vant to tell you how much Mrs. 'Wi.111.s and I ppteeiate YQUl' bringing bet e1111en all the WIG'" atound to City. WI dUoov-.-d its abanee not long after leaVing the islamia, but I thought it best llQt to turn back becau&e yw bad a:ll'ea

Mr. John Vis Van-ta-un Qrocery Star Route Anahuac, 'Texaa Dear John Davis t M q 311 19$7 I note rrom your report tor the week ending May 22 that you observed what appeared to be a raccoon on the islands on the 19th, that you rtqueated state warden Killebrew to go to the 1aland vi th you to eet traps 1 and that he did 10 on the 22nd. Thia leads m. to a ta ent or our policy w1 th regard to naturoal predation. While 1 t is true that warden Ravalt did soroe trapping on the Vingt-un Islands eerl7 in the 1956 season, believing that the pr. ence as raccoons, ma7 have been a m.ain tact.or in the diminution of the coloeyand abandoment b7 the birds in 19.55, it ie our general policy not to interfere, and I tbink we had bettel" puraue that policy fro here out, unleea circumatanc .. to rr definitely indicatereal need ot control. It 1a a very natural reaction on the part ot oUl" wardemtf Vho are guarding certain 1peciea, to want. to get rid ot &rJT animal that at any time eata the young or egga ot t.boee apeciea. 1 t bu been our alutoat .. invariable obaeJ"Y"at1on that the volme ot preda and the prey bird populations go up and down together, althou@Jl there ma1 sometimes be a little time lag involved. In other vorda, in the 7ear in which grackle predation vaa moat noticeable on Green Ialand in the Laguna adre, and the varden got alarmed, there vu nevertheleea raieed b7 the herons, egret.I, etc., to aucceeaful maturity, the largeet crop ot young on record at that location. Please do not take the above aa critic al ot your action, vbich was pertectly natural under the circuutancea. I'll be glad t.o talk vi th you ore about thia when I aee you aoon. JHBaea Sincerely yours, John H. Baker President


Mr. Joh Da'ria Van-ta .. un 0roc..,. Star Route Anahuac, Texu Dear Johns Ka.7 27, 19S7 In one ot your letters a mont.h or mere ago, 70u Mid 1011 telt there ia rOQI for imprownt on the boat that there 18 for wlndahield and seat backs. ou Yflf7 glel"C>\J8q ottered to aake h becau.e you say you hav e your own tool.I and M.e vorked at a boat works in Houa ton. I vould euggeet fhattif you baTent alreadJ done thia; you le\ it ride, at i ... t until I ... yob. W ha *1&h t ten of the model boat in uae by wardens in bot.h Florida and Tau and nom hoe aaked tor either windahield or aeat backa u yet. I have b"n in these boats quite a bit myaelt, and I know the wather ia at all rough, thq do ttrov quite. a lot of apray. It the and air -1" not u warm u they noraally are in Texu, thing would have to be done to u.p. the boatman trca gtting chilled. M;r trcra Nev Yon v.Ul be a at the airport at Houe ton at 3 26, and th one trcm Loa Angel.ea on which I expect hienda at )140 P.M. ao I would think that it the veathlrr 1-fnOl"abl late that afternoon ve would probably be o_. at the ialanda about 5 or S.30 P.K. It w dont tlJ!'ll up lat. that atternoon, jUlt tq waiting for ua t.he following morning. I tb1nk it would be rath hopelua to tJ'7 and get aey-...,age through to you quick enoutJi Ja to be vortbllblle. JHB1e1 John H Baker Pruident


Mr. John Davis V an-taun Or-ocery Star Route Anahuac, TltU Ma1 24, 1957 Congroat.ulationa to you and your wit upon the birth of son and heir. It i good to hear that both Mra. Dam and the baby ar et.ting along fine. It nov looka u though I would be Tisi ting the Vin t-un Ialanda on the late afternoon or earl7 eYening of Monday, June 10, and it not at that time, then on t.he following 'l'ueadq, the llth. I do not know at is hov many people will be coming vi th me, but I would aq a minhla of thr othera and a uia ot eight other The cbaDcff are that all or us would be cc:aing oTer on Mr. Waten Davis, Jr.a boat trora Seabroo 'lhe chances also &r that we would not start f'rom S eabrook bet'ore abwt 4 P.M. u the planea on 'Which mben ot th party would arriTe at Routon Airport would not get until between lt2S and .3&40. I will mplJ' have to let 7ou know ore definitely some time within ten days. l quite aun, hovner, that it vill not be neceaar1 far-you to atttmpt to aeet ua, other than waiting tor us in th boat oft the ialanda. JBBaea Sincerel7 yours, John B Baker President


Mr. John D avis Van-ta-un Grocery S tar Route Ananuac Texas Dear John: May 20, 1957 I know you have been waiting for an answer to your recent correspondence with Mr. Ba er. He has been on an extended tour of our installations in C alifornia. Since I am familiar with the accepted policy in these matters, I have taken the liberty of looking over your letters. I have also discussed these matters with Bill Jerr. Bill informs me that when you accepted your present position with the Audubon Society it was with the understanding that your salary would be 200 a month You were also to receive paymen t of rent for quarters while at Smith Point. This 1s a little more lenient than has been our policy in the past, but we realize that the salartes which we able to pay are har d .ly compet1t1ve with other employment. There are several reasons why we cannot make a change in policy now in order to adjust to the personal problems of only one warden. Your pay scale as it stands at resent is entirely ln line with those other wardens who have a great deal more experience and training than you have. A change 1n the policy relating to one lndl vldual a t present would necessitate a. change all the way down the line. We are unable and unw1111ng to do this at present. It ls my understanding that you were aware that the salary which you agreed to accep t from the Society was somewhat less than you felt you needed, but you were willing to compensate for it as best you could. You felt then, and I hope you still do that the you would gain, and the opportunity for service which this job presented, was in itself a compensation. Certainly all of our men, many of whom are in circumstances similar to your own, understand the necessity of ded1cat1on to the Audubon cause, and find 1n their service to that cause a satisfaction which c nnot be measured 1n ordinary terms.


-2-Mr. John Davis May 20, 1 957 We are 1n complete sympathy with your situation, but inas as there was an agreement of terms between you and the Society at the time when you were hired, we do not feel that a change ls justified at this time. eb lost sincerely, Carl W. Buchhe1ster Senior Vice-President


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Mr. John Davis Van-ta-un Grocery Star Route Anahuae1 Texae Dear John Davia 1 April 16, 1957 Here are some reporte of previous wardens at the Vingtun Islands which will be of interest to you, as well as give you an idea as to the kind of report we would like to have at the end of this season. You can keep these papers until the end or the season and then return them surely to me. I will give some thought to literature on the general subject of wildlife and conservation which would be helpful to you, and write you further. I do not quite understand why you should be running in the red approximately $ 25 a month. Is it clear to you that the Socie.ty is to pa;y for your cost of lodging while a.t Smith Point? Mr. Jerr told me that that would be i60 a m .onth and that be hlild made arrangements for it in your behalf. Bills tor this rental should be h anded to you by the owner of the property, approved in writing by you. on the faoe thereof and mailed by you to ,tr. Irving Benjamin, Assistant of' the Sooiety at this address for prompt payment direct to the owner. Offhand it would seem to me that under the set-up the only out of pocket expenses that you will have 111hile at the Vingt-un Islands will be for food and perhaps a little clothing. JHBses encl. Ever sincerely, John H Baker President P.S. On second thought, I think tll .ea wardnt:J} reports, ati.r having aueh notes as you may care to tnls because there are various ,.,,/' references to names of individuals and places that ve may wish to look up. Enclosed is a stamped addressed envelope in which they can be returned. J.H.B.


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r John Davis Van-ta -un Grocery Star Route Anahuac Texas Dear via: May 17, 1957 Please f1ll out the enclosed card and return it to us at y our earlies t convenience A M Eno. tours very truly, Alice sse r Secretary to Ass t Treasurer


-lOM-9-56 NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY 1130 FIFTH A VE., NEW YORK %&, N. Y. MEMO Mr. Baker 5-14-57 From W. A Jerr Re: John Davis Today I received a call from John Davis. He had called you, and was referred to me. He called to ask advice about a situation which had arisen there at the islands. An oil survey crew had landed on the islands, and was about to take seisemographic tests. They agreed to withdraw their boats from the island, and to withold further operations until he had time to contact New York. I gave him the routine instructions for handling the situation. He could not give me the name of the outfit, or the superintendent -but agreed to get them and forward them to us with a report of how the thing worked out. I had already conveyed these instructions to Davis verbally, but suppose they got misplaced in his mind in the welter of instructions and advice he was receiving at the time. I note tha t in your letter to him you wrote a detailed paragraph of instructions for handling such matters. I have had a copy made of the relevant paragraph and sent it to him.


r. John Davis Van-ta ... un Grocery Star Route Anahuac, fexas Dear John Davi a April 29, 19$7 Enclosed is a letter I h Te just received fr Bill Jerr gives you sane intortll tion that may be ot help. When and it I find Mr. no rt P. Allen' a excellent a arr of conditions at the Vingt-un I lands oane years ago, I will forward it to you At the nt e cannot se to lay our hands on 1 t JHB1ee encl. Sine rely, John H. Baker President


Mr. Je>hn Davis Van-ta-un Grooery Star Anahuac, Texu D ar John Davis: Apr11 12, 1957 Mr. Stcrer is President of the Florid.a. Audubon Society t and an excellent wildlife photographer He asaures ua we may count upon his observing all reB trictions on photograph I have suggested that if he takes pictures at all, he set his tripod out in the water at. a reasonal>le distance from the islands, using only teleph.oto lenses. In general, we do not issue visitor authorization, if we can avoid it, for d tea in April and M y, but concentrate them in June, when most ot the young are soniewhat g:rown and comparatively few e ggs remain unhatched. W e are, therefore, making quite an exception in the cue of Mr. and Mrs. Storer, who I believe, will h ave with them Mia e Von Bor ovsky. JRB:es Very truly yours 1 John H. Baker President'


Mr. John Darla Van-ta-un Grocery Star Route Anahuac, TeD.8 Dear John Dana a April ll1 19)7 I have your tirat veekl.y report and ha adrlsed our Treaeurer that you started on the job March )0. He also has your ocial security number information and etatu that he sent you vi thholding form for eocial eecurity 1 and that on th chance that you did not get the envelopes that he sent you, he ia sending some mor He thinkl you uat h ve received the earlier auppl.y, however, in that you received the weekly report tome aa evidenced b7 your using one. I glad you have taken care o! the matter of the eigna 1 which doubtleea were in need ot relettering and painting, i:t not of repair. I do not understand Vb7 r. Jerr did not take these dovn and store them when he left last season, and I uk now that you to do so at the end ot the current season. I BM that r. Yrmategui has undertaken to get nn poata for the signs and to have the signs repaind and tixed up. The beat way to attix the signa to the upright.a is by good aised bolt.I and nuta vi th vaahere. Then at the end of the seuon the aigna can be easily taken down and tored, leaving the upright in place. JHBsea incerel.y youn 1 John H. Baker Preaident


Mr. John Davia Van-ta-un Grocery Star Route Anahuac, Texas Dear Mr. Davias (J' I -l 1 I ---------April S, 1957 Bill Jerr ha8 posted me ae to your starting on the job our warden at the Vingt-un Islande tor the eunent nesting sea.son or the birds beginning ae of April l, I believe. Mr. Benjamin, our As istant Treaoure r1 tfl"ote you on March 27. connection w1 th his 1natruot1ona to yeu about to him tor a petty cash fund that h will furnish you, 'I I think he should have added that you should obtain receipts and send th to him tor anything except little petty expenses for which one would normally not obtain a reoeipt, sue as a tip. You will want to know something bout let me say that the Society leases the Vingt-un Islands from the State of Texaa through its General Land Office for a term of 50 years, beginning September 1955J this by action of the Texas State Legislature. I will send you or by later 11, a copy of the legislative act on which the lease is based. With res-rd to operations by rep;esentative or o. on or near the 1 lands,. please be advised that it has been, for many years, the policy of the state's General Land Otf'ice, though not pecified in the act of the legislature, that oil co paniea be reatricted from operations on the sanctuary islands, or on nerby waters vi th1n 100 ds. It ay be that the pre nt commissioner of the Land Office is not aware or that policy, but it is in the records of his office, and if you have any difficulty about thi with any re resentative or I\Y' oil canpany, just let me know at once, giving the m.e of the oil compaeyand its local address. M y guess 1a that you will not haTe any difficulty of this kind, we have found that oU companies }more than any other catttgory of ccmpa.ny engaged in exploitation of natural resources)bave good public relations. t time8 some ot the zoos in Tau would like to take live birds :f'rcm our sanctuaries, and t one time the State Fish, Gam and Oyster Ccmniseion issued permits to that etfect. The l95S le ielatiTe act made no provision, however, for any exceptione to the inviolate ch racter of the Audubon anctuaries, and therefore no provision tor pemita. Should an:r zoo repreaentat1ve turn up at the Vingt-un Islands and flash &f\Y kind ot pel'lltit.; you are authorized to pay no heed to it insofar u granting at:JT rights are concerned, but m ke full notes or the details of the pemit, such as the date, what it p-rovidea, who signed it, and send the information to me.


Mr. John Davia -2 April 5 1957 W e have an authoriz d visitor plan, per e nclosed blank c opy and in truction she t Ther will b e some people turn up at S i th Point without aey suc h p e it, and you re uthorize d to use your discretion in accordanc with your conv enie nc e as to lllethe r or n o t t o a e to take th out for little b t t rip around the island to see th birds. Howe ver, w e want the local people to know that w e have an authorize d visitor plan, and that 7ou would appreciate their obtaining auch authoriz tion, r the r than turn up unexpectedly/putting you on the spot. Unde r no circum. tanc are you to Uow any landing by vis 1 tors on the Vingtun Island du ring the n esting s eason of the birds. The birds can be well seen fro a boat at a reasonable distance. Unde r no circ tanc s ar you to bang on the boat, blow a h orn or create an y other disturbance that would cause the birds to fiy up and l eave the i r ne ts, ven t porarily. You are not to p ermit others to do so either. Moat of the peopl who app ear in boats near the islands will b e in small boa P.Or t .ti hing on wee k-ends nd holidays. We hav always round th rativ he other princip 1 source of un expecte d vi itors will b e caning in cruisers cros the bay tran S:eabr ook. It you are not on the job1so of th will want to land out of curiosity, but mo t ot th s are high gr d citiz ns who will dil y coop e r t e if the y und rstand what th r e t rictions a and why they are n e e sary. In p as t y e rs there have be n group coming down trips organized by Ric University, or th Ro ton Mus e of Natural History. W ha n v a r had any difficulty with th University p ople. e h :ve only once had difticul ty with the Muse of Natural History group, and the director appar ntly responsible for that is no longe r the director or th mu e The e group r ent boats c rrying 30 p eople o r more and it is important that your r at.ions with the owners or operators of such boats b such that they will coop rate with our rule and regulations, and not pennit di turbo of the birds by the groups they haul. There is no reason why you should not b e on the pot in your little boat at the tim o f th visits to help s to it that the y create no di turbanc From th standpoint or disturbance the principal pest is the wildlife photo g r ph e r e ch on or an thinks h e can take pictur s on the n esting islands without causing any da.'?lage although h e adily grants that the rest of the photogr phers are unable to do so. Many an egg or n e wly hatche d young has been cook e d to de th by disturbanc cre ated by photographers. We have no objection to their s etting up a earne r with tel ephoto l e ns e s o n tripods s e t in shallo w t r at r easonable distance from the island. W e are entir ly opposed to mitting th to land on th n e ting lands for photogr phic purpos es. P l enty of picture h alre dy n taken all of the e islands for the cientitic r ecor d and for entertainment and ducation howings


Mr. John Davia J April 5, 1957 The Outdoor ature Club ot Houaton containa many warm friends, and vu in the earl 7eara active in improYing conditions on the Vingt-un Ialanda for the nesting birds. Ita officers vill, I am sure, be 100% cooperative. That dou not necessarily apply to each and every 1111mber of the club --so if anything untoward happena in connection with visit by a member of the club, you should not hesitate to report in tull prcmptly to the President of the club, u wll aa to me. I think the state game vardena in the area learned their 1 .. aon some tvo yeara ago when thq were partly responsible for aerioua disturbance prior to the arrival or our warden. Generally speaking, you will have the support of the local citizens at Slllith Point. No doubt Bill Jerr informed you th&t)a& in all $UCh small frontier camnunities there is a great deal or jealousy and competition, especially among the few commercial fiahennen, and there is no reason to put any particular credence in most of the stories that they will tell you about each other or about former Audubon wardens. Mr. Roaenqueat, the fur buyer, has always been a friend of the Society, as has been th& Whitehead t 111' and the f ormar Miss Whitehead who is now Mrs Myatt. Mr. and Mrs. A. v. ott ot 1902 Lamar Avenue, Ho'WSton, Texas, are true trienda of the Society, who may be in touch with you from time to time, u is Armand Yramategui of 2520 Calumet, Houaton, Texas, who is active for the Outdoor Natul"e Club in conservation matters. I:r you haTe any questions, let me hear from you pranptly. JHBaea encl. Sincerely yours, John H Baker President


NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY 13 M c A J Jisler Arcad e 4 J;L 17/tf S-a-4 Q.


lOM-3 54 NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY 1130 FIFTH A VE. NEW YORK 28 N. Y. MEMO 3 -29-57 To MR. BAKER _________ 19_ Bill Jerr John Davis FrollL. ____________ Re: ________ The a ddress of t h e new for the Vingt-un Islands is: John Davis 7718 Satsuma Houston 23, Texas His address w hile at Smith Point will be : % Van-taun Grocery Star Route Anahuac Texas I h ave sent full r.articulars to Mr. Benjamin


l'.11". Louis E. Rawalt c/o Van-Ta-Un Grocery Star Route Anahuac, Texas Dear Louise March 20, 1956 'l'his morning I have yours Of March 18. I am very sorry to hear about Mrs. Rosenqueet1e heart attack and will write to Mr. Roeenqueet. I am glad you were able to rent a cottage from the people running the store for Mr. Dawson. am surprised that you report that there are no birds nesting and very few in the area. There certainly ought to be some Ward's herons nesting by now. As you say there are several ra.cco s on the Vingt-un Island8, I sugiest :tihat ou see if you can trap them of, but do so without advising an of the local people who mig y s art some criticism. As you and I know, the supply of raccoons is more than ample, and a few of them could do a lot of dalllage in a bird rookery, and might even 'oe a cause of the birds not choosing to nest there. By all means, have another sign made at our expense as soon as feasible, and put it where you think beet. I am distressed to hear that tbey were not taken down for the winter season and stored, but I suspect that boy we had there last year felt that1in response to some. local complaint, particularly Mrs. Myatt's, they might be sure that the signs were there early this season, even it a warden were not. probably sent y(i)u some of the names o! local peo .ple in an earlier letter, but three of the local families of none too good reputation are the Neleona, Plummers and Stevensona, especially Clifford Albert Plummer, known as Pub. Neal Nelson will talk like a friend but I am not sure that he is. Most of these fellows will find a way to criticize each other and try and implicate eaah other in the disturbance of last year's rookeey. J. N. Sowell, last year's storekeeper for Dawson, impressed me favorably as dependable and having some real interest in the birds. JHB:es As ever, John H. Baker President /


M r John H Beker National Audubon Society 1130 Fifth Ave New York 28, Y Dear Mr Baker: Smiths Point Ma.roh 18, 1956 I arrived here on Maroh 15, along with a heavy and oold norther. Mrs Rosenquist was stricken with a heart attack the day before I arrived and taken to the hospital. I have not seen her or her husband. Her sister who lives next door informed me that they were remodeling their place and fixing a room tor the Audubon wardens, but that evidently will not be finished for some time. I rented a oottage from the people that are running th, e sto're for Mr Da,'V'son. + I have oontaoted Buddie Whitehead and have the boat and motor in the water. He has been very helptull in explaining the adjacent waters and shoal. I have been to the Island twioe, there are no birds nesting. and vary few in the area. The only r s on the island were night herons, an:l a few ducks on the lake. I went around the island on foot and found that there are several raooons living there, no sign of snakes. One sign, north-west one s gone, I straighten the other whioh was about to fall aovm, here should be one on the other end where the me boats oan get tbs 0h21..t. Vli{lfV Several days before leaving Cor pus I the signs on loui>.h Bird Island, there were five colonies of whites nesting. I will inform you immediately when any spoonbills start conoentrating around the islands, so far I counted less than a hundred in the near vi oini't;y, these were in flight, they oirole the islan4s and return towards the mainland anti I presume some of the lakes. Anahuac1 7 y St,ar Route c/o van-Ta-Un Grooery. Until I have more information, Respectively J! d,