Sekercioglu is a senior research scientist at Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology. He has received funding from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research anbd Exploration to study forest birds in Costa Rica, a project unrelated to the island in Turkey.
The artificial island was made from a dirt road which bisected Lake Kuyucuk in the Kars province of eastern Turkey. Home to at least half the 465 species of birds found in Turkey and a critical stopover for thousands of birds that migrate annually between eastern Europe and Africa, Lake Kuyucuk was recently named by the United Nations as a wetlands of international importance.
The manmade island in the center of the lake becomes a safe place for birds to roost and breed. It also restores the natural water regime of the lake by connecting the southern and northern sections formerly bisected by the old Kars-Akyaka road.
Local authorities expect that the new 200-yard-long island will increase nature tourism in the region.
Ninety-three trees of local species such as birch and willow, suited to the local steppe wetland ecosystem, were planted along the northern side of the island.