Linda Moulton Howe, Reporter and Editor of Earthfiles.com, has a video news update about the unprecedented disappearance from late May to now of an entire colony of nesting birds from Seahorse Key on Florida’s Gulf coast 60 miles southwest of Gainesville.
Linda Moulton Howe, Earthfiles.com, Albuquerque, New Mexico – "Seahorse Key, Florida, has been the largest spring nesting colony for many bird species for nearly a century. By the third week in May 2015, some 15,000 snowy egrets, white ibis, pelicans, blue herons rose-colored spoonbills, ospreys and others had laid eggs and all seemed normal. But a tour guide from the nearby town of Cedar Key reported that on a Tuesday, probably May 19th, he and tourists watched thousands of the nesting birds on Seahorse Key. Then the next day when he returned with another boatload of tourists, "The birds were all gone! It’s just that drastic. There were none! It’s like a different world," he told the Tampa Bay Times in early July.
During the month of June 2015, dozens of Florida and federal wildlife biologists picked up broken eggs from the ground and tried to find any disease or other evidence that would explain this unprecedented disappearance of so many birds at the middle of their nesting season. But so far, there are no answers except that perhaps some unknown event was so traumatic, it scared all the adult birds away from their nests so rapidly that some of their precious eggs were even knocked to the ground. Professor Peter Frederick from the University of Florida, who has studied Florida birds since 1986 — especially the massive nesting colony on Seahorse Key — told Earthfiles.com that what really puzzles him is, "All of the different bird species left all at once." In his thirty years work studying Florida birds, that has never happened.
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