South Florida native James A. Rodgers received his bachelor's degree from the University of Miami, a master’s degree in biology from Louisiana State University, and his PhD in biology from the University of South Florida. In 1979, Rodgers began working as a warden-naturalist with the National Audubon Society’s Tampa Bay Sanctuaries. In this position, he conducted management and field studies until 1980, when he moved to a position with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as an avian biologist. Rodgers is a fellow of the American Ornithological Union and has published extensively on the ecology, behavior, and demographics of wading and waterbirds.
In this interview, Rodgers discusses his role in protecting the wading bird populations nesting at the Tampa Bay bird sanctuaries. Rodgers explains the importance of systematic monitoring in the management and conservation of bird populations, the effects of resource shift on bird distribution, and the role of vegetation manipulation in providing a stable nesting environment. He also describes local threats to the avian population, including land development, habitat loss, and disturbances of nesting environments. Rodgers discusses the effects of the Tampa Harbor Deepening Project and the importance of securing concessions from developers in mitigating the environmental impact of their projects. Rodger finishes the interview recalling his interactions with the National Audubon Society and commenting on the current status of the avian and marine populations of the Tampa Bay area.