Wednesday, 20 December 2006 00:00
SpoonbillsWritten by Valerie Alker
Everglades National Park is planning temporary closings to protect roseate spoonbills during winter nesting.
There are two nesting colonies of roseate spoonbills in Florida Bay – about five hundred nesting pairs – the largest breeding population in the state. Roseate spoonbills get their name from their distinctive bill and bright pink plumage with splashes of crimson. They are easily spooked off their nests – leaving their young vulnerable. Bob Scholer is the Florida Bay District Naturalist for Everglades National Park.
“lets say a motorboat is zipping by really fast, there are predators such as crows and night herons that are kind of watching for that – and if that happens those predators will move in on the nest and feed on the young birds – will attack and kill the young birds”
The park will close Carl Ross Key and Frank Key Channel to the public from this Saturday to March 15th…to help protect the nesting spoonbills.
Portions of Everglades National Park will be off limits to boaters starting this Saturday to help protect two nesting colonies of roseate spoonbills. The park is home to Florida largest population of the birds – about 500 nesting pairs. Park Naturalist Bob Scholer – the rather rare birds are still threatened by residual from Hurricane Wilma.
“the thing that happened with hurricane wilma is that it defoliated – took the vegetation off a lot of the trees where the spoonbills nest, in a sense it made them a little bit more exposed to other activity – a little bit more visible”
They are also easily spooked off their nests by boaters – leaving their chicks vulnerable to predators like crows. Roseate spoonbills are sometimes mistaken for flamingoes because of their pink plumage.
Carl Ross Key and Frank Key Channel will remain off limits to humans until mid March.