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Sarasota News Leader September 13, 2013 Page 70 An Aug. 22 article by Gyorgy Szimuly of World Waders notes that snowy plovers are on the "Yellow" list of the US Watchlist, a joint project of the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. That designation means the species is in decline but at a much slower rate than species in the "Red" category. However, the article notes, evidence shows the snowy plover population is suffering "from … increasing human and pet disturbance," and "Beaches intensively used by humans will keep [the species] vulnerable to further population declines." tress on Labor Day, Luckner continued, died on Sept. 3 FWC has issued a plan of action to try to encourage expansion of the snowy plover population or, at least, preservation of the current level on Florida beaches, the article reports. Catherine Luckner responded that FWC representatives told her that 30 inches of rain had been recorded on the island since late June, with showers "almost every day." Phone numbers for the Venice Wildlife Center and Save Our Seabirds, located on Longboat Key, are available on the SKA's homepage, she added. (For Save Our Seabirds, the number is 388-3010. For the Venice Wildlife Center, the regular number is 484-9657; the after-hours emergency number is 416-4967.) Anyone seeing a suffering bird should call one of those numbers; each of the centers has personnel available to come pick up the bird and try to treat it, Luckner said. "Don't try to These factors indicate the bird could be [transport a bird] yourself." moved to the "Red" list at some point, the ar- When SKA Director Beverly B. Arias asked ticle adds. whether this incidence of illness is unusual, According to statistics provided by the SouthDYING BIRDS west Florida Water Management District, acOn the negative side of the report during the tual rainfall in the South Region of the state — SKA meeting, Catherine Luckner — Bob's wife which includes Sarasota County — was 40.94 inches from January through August, comand the SKA president — said that during the pared to a historical average of 38.12 inches. previous eight to 10 days, a number of birds had died because of paralysis of their legs and Bob Luckner added that the effect on the birds resembled the type of adverse neurological subsequent inability to obtain food. impact produced by red tide, though red tide Those birds had been located in areas where does not appear to be the culprit. Large numrainwater pooling occurred, near the dunes, bers of migrating birds sharing territory can she pointed out. One school of thought was spread disease, he pointed out, so it is possithat the birds had been exposed to a chemical ble the problem is avian botulism. produced by decaying vegetative material in Both Save Our Seabirds and FWC are doing the water. necropsies on the deceased birds, he contin"We have had all bird species impacted," she ued, with the hope of determining the cause noted. One adult snowy plover found in dis- of the illness. %

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