All birds suddenly abandon refuge on Seahorse Key off Florida

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by LizKat, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #1
    Biologists are now reporting that back in May there was a departure, apparently in a single night, of thousands of birds in multiple species from a long-established nesting site and wildlife refuge on Seahorse Key off Florida. Right in the middle of their nesting season. The birds have not returned. Biologists so far can’t figure out what happened.

    http://www.timesunion.com/news/scie...rds-abandon-eggs-nests-on-Florida-6369889.php

    I’m waiting for some other shoe to drop... maybe some contractor for the military ran a test of something or other. If so, whatever it is either works very well indeed, or has a terrible side effect, whichever way one would wish to view it. Maybe the Loch Ness monster has exited the European Union!

    Article says there has been an increase in surveillance flights seeking drug runners over the island in the past few years. Doesn’t seem to explain the mass reaction of that one night in May, as there are normally up to tens of thousands of birds on that key and now there are none. Of course if there was some action out there involving multiple agency helicopters and drug runner planes / boats, and it went on for hours, maybe that could be disruptive enough. It would be a terrible loss if the birds don’t return next season.

     
  2. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    There was a very large solar flare on May 5th. Perhaps the birds were disoriented by this?
     
  3. LizKat, Jul 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015

    LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    Wow, and that was on a Tuesday, too -- referring to the tour guide's note that it was a Wednesday morning when he noticed the birds had all vanished. It's sort of odd that no date was provided, just "in May".

    A large solar flare sounds like a lead that one would think researchers would have picked up on, although it's not noted in the piece. The AP originally put up that report, but my link was to a paper that had picked it up. I'm going to try to make time to look around in some ornithology sites later on today. Thanks for your comment.

    ===

    Update:

    Here’s a piece by Cindy Swirko from the Gainesville Sun, dated May 21, that pegs the disappearance not to early May but rather to “around April 20.”

    http://www.gainesville.com/article/20150521/ARTICLES/150529901

    That piece does comment on possibility of military exercises but seems to rule it out. It noted that University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are pursuing an investigation.

    It doesn’t seem to be a sudden reaction to climate change or food availability, since some of the birds have relocated to the nearby Snake Island. Trouble with that is, that island is not specifically protected in the same way that Seahorse Key is.
     
  4. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    My pleasure. If this turns out to be the reason, then birds are smarter than we are.
     
  5. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    Heh, in some ways migratory birds have stayed smarter than we've become. I mean I don't know about you, but the chances of my getting from the Catskills to the Caribbean without a map and a list of good diners along the way are slim to zero. :D

    Well if solar flares are the problem with these birds having moved, maybe we’ll find out more soon. Spaceweather.com has this on the front page today:
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Fascinating story.

    Strange that they would abandon nesting sites en masse at such short notice.

    Have any other forms of wildlife suffered a sharp decline - or change - in their numbers in recent times, or is the sudden disappearance of the dune's bird population the only significant change that has taken place? What about the fish, and the state of the water - have any changes worthy of note occurred there?

    And,for that matter, has anyone any idea where the nesting birds decided to head off to?
     
  7. LizKat, Jul 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015

    LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    I don't know more than I've noted in this thread. The AP piece did say they'd not found enough raccoons to have caused a mass exodus (they trapped a few), nor had they found evidence of owls having invaded the site. It's too bad to have lost most of a whole generation of these large birds. Most of the 15 or so species that made it a primary rookery have just one or a few eggs in their clutch. Some of the birds apparently relocated to Snake Key but it's not protected in the same way the islands of Cedar Key are.
     
  8. Gutwrench macrumors 65816

    Gutwrench

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    I'm putting my money it was the seahorses. They probably got tired of the bird's **** so they banned together and aggressively float attacked the birds. Don't f with pissed off seahorses.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Seahorses?

    Those supremely elegant creatures, looking like rather mobile knights on a chessboard, elegant creatures with extraordinarily advanced notions on paternal parental care of offspring by contrast with others in the animal kingdom?

    And here was I labouring the delusion that they were the pacifists of the aquatic world…...
     
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    You know what they say, you gotta watch out for the quiet ones.;)
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Yes, sensitive pacifists, fantastic paternal parental habits, stunning looking creatures…….yes, you could well be right; maybe we do need to keep an eye on the 'quiet ones' .
     
  12. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #12
    Perhaps they tired of wasting away in Margaritaville.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #13
    I think they went to get a cheeseburger in paradise.
     

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