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Bird mystery: Thousands disappear and abandon eggs, nests on island off Florida's Gulf Coast

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posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:43 AM
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So this story is worrisome. Apparently ALL the birds just left, even leaving their eggs behind in May. It has now been declared a dead zone. What could cause something like that? Things like this in nature happening are what REALLY get me wondering.



Biologists are trying to find the reason thousands of nesting birds have abandoned Seahorse Key off Florida's Gulf Coast.

The little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, pelicans and other birds left the island all at once in May.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Vic Doig said what was once the largest bird colony on the state's Gulf Coast is now a "dead zone." Scientists have found no indication that disease, contaminants or predators are to blame.


Source

Now the fact that they say there is no indication of disease, contaminants, or predators to blame is really concerning......
edit on 7/7/15 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)

edit on 7/7/15 by JAK because: url format



+20 more 
posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:47 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

They say Animals know ahead of time when something is about to hit the fan, anything else gone missing or is it just birds?

CbG



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

This is an interesting and worrisome news item if totally true. Well worth making it to the major world news media stage, and investigative journalists should be swarming the area and the experts.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:50 AM
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originally posted by: corblimeyguvnor
a reply to: Vasa Croe

They say Animals know ahead of time when something is about to hit the fan, anything else gone missing or is it just birds?

CbG


Not sure about anything else....the article says they are worried because a lot of other animals there depend on the birds as well.

Their wording is really dramatic though....saying that all the birds left all at once in May and that the largest bird colony on FL's Gulf coast is now a Dead Zone...

I don't know enough about migration tendencies of the birds listed on there, but I can't imagine that this has happened before based on the statements from the US Fish and Wild Life Service.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:52 AM
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originally posted by: Aleister
a reply to: Vasa Croe

This is an interesting and worrisome news item if totally true. Well worth making it to the major world news media stage, and investigative journalists should be swarming the area and the experts.



Yeah.....very worrisome. Looks like they took about a month to really notice it and are now announcing it. I would guess they are checking all up and down the Gulf Coast to see if the same thing has happened.

Either way.....it really makes me think something is up with them ruling out disease and contaminants.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:54 AM
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a reply to: corblimeyguvnor

I'm curious if it's only birds as well.

Doesn't really sound good either way though.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 08:59 AM
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originally posted by: KawRider9
a reply to: corblimeyguvnor

I'm curious if it's only birds as well.

Doesn't really sound good either way though.


From the Fish and Wildlife site on Seahorse (Cedar) Key:



Blustery spring days don't keep birders indoors along the naturecoast. The Seahorse Key rookery is in full force from March 1st through June 30th; therefore, the island and 300 feet around it are posted CLOSED for that time period. Parent birds must fly to freshwater sources to find fish that won't dehydrate their offspring. They can be seen coming and going throughout the day as they hunt for food.


Source

So that makes me wonder if there is something going on with the freshwater sources around there in FL? Anyone know of any volcanoes or anything in the area that could be disturbing the freshwater supply?



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:00 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe


Their wording is really dramatic though….saying that all the birds left all at once in May and that the largest bird colony on FL's Gulf coast is now a Dead Zone…

Did they migrate? Sometimes for whatever reason, their cycle gets messed up and that years migration is delayed for whatever reason so they may abandoned their nests or chicks. Could be because of food supply or timing, weather, whatever. If they arrived late in the season and started nesting late that could explain it. Sure its a dead zone, they all left.

Not unheard of.

If whatever they all ate dried up, then yah, they have to move or die.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:03 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Vasa Croe


Their wording is really dramatic though….saying that all the birds left all at once in May and that the largest bird colony on FL's Gulf coast is now a Dead Zone…

Did they migrate? Sometimes for whatever reason, their cycle gets messed up and that years migration is delayed for whatever reason so they may abandoned their nests or chicks. Could be because of food supply or timing, weather, whatever. If they arrived late in the season and started nesting late that could explain it. Sure its a dead zone, they all left.

Not unheard of.

If whatever they all ate dried up, then yah, they have to move or die.


Sure, but when the biologists that keep the area up think it is odd then I would think it really is odd. If this had happened before then there would be no cause for alarm it would seem. They seem alarmed.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:03 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Hmm, definitely interesting and thanks for sharing. Like you say, the lack of pollutants or known diseases is worrying. Perhaps some new disease is brewing? Or possibly it is linked to something else. For example, the sea lions on the West Coast of the US and the crisis they are currently in (almost mirros this on the Florida coast in that there are no known diseases, pollutants, etc). The NOAA think that may be linked to the Pacific "warm blob" causing changes in ecosysytem nutrients, water circulation, etc. Perhaps something similar is now happening on the Florida coast?

There are usually very normal explanations for these mysteries but with a "sudden" disappearance of the wildlife and the abandoning of eggs this is certainly one to keep an eye on.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:08 AM
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Here is another article on it. A LOT of avian biologists head there during the high season apparently.

Source

So...again the most concerning thing about this is the response from people who regularly go there.




"It's not uncommon for birds to abandon nests," said Peter Frederick, a University of Florida wildlife biologist who has studied Florida's birds for nearly 30 years. "But, in this case, what's puzzling is that all of the species did it all at once."




"Any rookery that's persisted for decades as one of the largest colonies is incredibly important," said Janell Brush, an avian researcher with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's quite a large colony. There had to be some intense event that would drive all these birds away."




Mike O'Dell runs tours out of the little marina in nearby Cedar Key. He said on a Tuesday in May he led a group out to view thousands of birds crowding the shores of the key. On Wednesday, there was nothing.

"It's just that drastic," O'Dell said. "There were none. It's like a different world."



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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Climate change, my guess.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

I also wonder where they went? Mass migration would seem easy enough to track.

You know the fish and wildlife folks tracked them. Where did they end up? Different island? Higher ground? Different State?

Very curious that they don't give more info. You know they know more than "they just disappeared"...



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:14 AM
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originally posted by: KawRider9
a reply to: Vasa Croe

I also wonder where they went? Mass migration would seem easy enough to track.

You know the fish and wildlife folks tracked them. Where did they end up? Different island? Higher ground? Different State?

Very curious that they don't give more info. You know they know more than "they just disappeared"...


From the second article I posted they said this:



Doig said some of the Seahorse birds seem to have moved to a nearby island, but they're just a fraction of the tens of thousands of birds that would normally be nesting on the key right now.


So some of them went to another island, but only a fraction. This is apparently one of the largest bird refuges in FL.


+11 more 
posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:21 AM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Greetings- I found some more info on this:

www.ocala.com...

news.nationalgeographic.com...

skml.clas.ufl.edu... This is the link for the extension courses out there.

The aquifer is screwed up and that area has a ton of lyngba (invasive water weed) from over fertilization. This is also the area of the Manatee so You might look into their count..

I live on a lake in the area and the water is not only low but it is root beer brown in color. These same lakes were crystal clear in the late 90s. There is also a water company that sucks out 1,000s of gallons a day from the aquifer and then sells it back as "drinking water" There is also an Ocala cattle company that either sucked out more water and/or they poisoned the watershed.

One of the above articles was from May 2015 and the Gov't. stating there is "nothing yet" I'll take w/a grain of salt. Heck, they think cannabis is as bad as heroin.



namaste



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:31 AM
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The birds apparently had another resource island - Snake Key - which is smaller but many of them have gone there. It's still unsettling because having left the eggs behind, they have lost 'an entire generation of birds". Representatives from Florida universities are trying to figure out what happened, and they have not ruled out human interference, although it wasn't the military who sometimes do exercises in the area. During the bird nesting season there are strict no trespassing policies on Seahorse key.

But something scared the hell out of them.

www.ocala.com...



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:32 AM
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a reply to: JimNasium

Much appreciated. I had wondered if it has to do with the freshwater resources becoming used up or contaminated. Though the article says that contamination does not seem to be the cause it also says. I wonder if they just meant contamination of the bird migration site, or contamination in general, perhaps of their feeding site.



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:38 AM
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originally posted by: angeldoll
The birds apparently had another resource island - Snake Key - which is smaller but many of them have gone there. It's still unsettling because having left the eggs behind, they have lost 'an entire generation of birds". Representatives from Florida universities are trying to figure out what happened, and they have not ruled out human interference, although it wasn't the military who sometimes do exercises in the area. During the bird nesting season there are strict no trespassing policies on Seahorse key.

But something scared the hell out of them.

www.ocala.com...


Thanks.

This quote from your source is interesting as he seems to dispel the possibility that it was food source related:



Peter Frederick, a research professor with the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, said rookery abandonments have happened in the Everglades. The usual cause of those disturbances is usually related to food sources, but that has not happened at Seahorse Key.

Frederick said the situation is different here — more species in the rookery and a greater number of habitats in the area with various food sources and no synchronous collapse of them all.

The incident shows the importance of protecting areas so that birds have a backup place to nest when disturbances — be they mysteries or known causes such as fires or hurricanes — occur.

“Whatever it was was a single event or (events) closely spaced in time. It affected all of the species. It really flipped them out so they would just leave their big investment. I'm a little scared it's going to remain a mystery,” Frederick said. “To have that backup is real important. This colony and the fact they are willing to stay despite a terrible event is probably an indicator that they have some good resources there.”



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 09:58 AM
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Seahorse key, in the Cedar Keys is a cottonmouth infested island . I don't feel I'm going out on the limb when I say it has some involvement with this vipers .

The birds and snakes normally cohabitate with the baby snakes feeding on the regurgitated fish from the birds. When things are normal the snakes do not attack the birds because they are full from the Fish the birds bring .


My guess is fish stocks are showing depletion and the cotton mouths are adapting by eating birds in checks and eggs . Read about it some more this National Geographic link .

My second guess is that the invasive pythons have made it to the island and are eating the birds .


cottonmouth and migratory birds cohabitate



edit on 7-7-2015 by Greathouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Vasa Croe


Their wording is really dramatic though….saying that all the birds left all at once in May and that the largest bird colony on FL's Gulf coast is now a Dead Zone…

Did they migrate? Sometimes for whatever reason, their cycle gets messed up and that years migration is delayed for whatever reason so they may abandoned their nests or chicks. Could be because of food supply or timing, weather, whatever. If they arrived late in the season and started nesting late that could explain it. Sure its a dead zone, they all left.

Not unheard of.

If whatever they all ate dried up, then yah, they have to move or die.


The additional oddity is the fact that ALL the bird breeds are gone. It seems to me that some breeds might not have been affected by the 'cause', but that isn't the case. Really strange and yes, a little scary.




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