Latest update from Barb Walker.
I am concerned because of the similarities in diet between Ospreys and Bald Eagles.
From: barb walker [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2009 8:50 PM
To: 'Strepina, Breanne'; 'email@example.com'; Cunningham, Mark; Boughton, Robin; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'
Subject: Dunedin cluster;Osprey deaths still being reported, numbers are climbing as of late in the day on 7/9/09
Between Tarpon Springs, Dunedin and St. Pete I have a count of 12 Osprey which have died from apparent emaciation/starvation/dehydration. I'm sure Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary has additional numbers not represented on my map. The number appears to be climbing as of late in the day today, 7/9/09, and several sites have had more than one Osprey die, for example Dunedin Country Club.
For all those who are copied - Fish and Wildlife is coordinating necropsies for several of the Osprey. One was done this week. We will have to wait for the results. Comments from rescuers have consistently been that these are the most emaciated Osprey they have seen, just feathers and bone. Quite worrisome indeed. I will continue to update the list. I have not had any reports from the Gandy group or from the Lake Tarpon area. If anyone is on the list and wishes to be removed please let me know.
Thank you to everyone who is showing and interest and helping.
OspreyWatch Program Coordinator
Saturday, July 11 UPDATE:
Today, Barbara Walker reported: "Three more young Osprey perished below their nests in Tarpon Springs, two at one location, and one in another location which we feel there is a reasonable explanation for (2 of the other young survived). On my way to drop off the bodies to FWC yesterday I found a dead Osprey on East Lake Road just south of John Chestnut Park, it was a juvenile. This evening an adult Osprey was killed on 118th Avenue near an area where there was a fish die off which I understand can happen after heavy rains. There were several Osprey in the area and we thought they had probably been attracted by the fish floating on the water. The fish die off and the death of the adult Osprey were reported to FWC."
Later today, Barb found that another Osprey had died of trauma. Excerpts of her report: "This evening 7/11/09 a concerned citizen... called me about an injured Osprey... The fish die off was right across the street from that location... [He] said he has been in that area for 16 years and had not noticed anything like this before. A fish die off may have been what attracted quite a few Osprey. One adult Osprey was likely hit by a car and died before I got there. The body is in my freezer [for FWC investigators]... There is obvious trauma. The Osprey was most likely feeding in the area... [The concerned citizen] went through a lot of trouble to get a hold of me and he is asking for an investigation into the fish die off and the stench coming off the property. I did call the Wildlife Alert number between 9:30 and 9:38pm this evening and was told the information would be passed along..."
We flew in from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale this past Tuesday and passed over the Tampa-St. Pete coastline. I noted quite a large algae bloom that extended out into the Gulf.. I wonder whether the turbidity of the runoff from heavy rain, along with the cloud cover, deprive the algae of light, and this causes them to deplete the oxygen instead of generating it, suffocating the fish. Of course, the rain may also wash toxic chemicals into the estuary.
Will be interested in hearing what the necrocopies may reveal.
Barbara Walker sent us this link to a news release on the Osprey deaths.
Osprey deaths baffle biologists
At least 12 ospreys found dead in recent weeks
Updated: Saturday, 11 Jul 2009, 7:27 AM EDT
Published : Saturday, 11 Jul 2009, 7:23 AM EDT
• Cynthia Smoot
CLEARWATER, Fla. - What's killing ospreys in northern Pinellas County? That's what state biologists and Audubon members want to know after at least a dozen young ospreys have turned up dead in the past two weeks.
For ten years, a pair of ospreys have raised their young in a dead tree in Laura Collins' yard on Stevensons Creek in north Clearwater.
"You get to see all aspects of it, when they're young, what the parents do. It's just an amazing bird," Collins says.
Collins says this year's two fledglings were actively fishing and flying around until a couple of weeks ago, when one was found dead under a tree in her next door neighbor's yard.
Then the second one also perished. "Over the holiday weekend, Saturday, one of the other babies was found on the ground, dead," says Collins.
Barb Walker of Clearwater Audubon's Osprey Watch is worried. She says all 12 dead ospreys have been found in the north Clearwater/Dunedin/Tarpon Springs area and rescuers are reporting finding birds in poor condition.
"They're severely emaciated. They're dehydrated. They've starved to death and when you have citizens that say 'but I've been watching them eating,' then you have to wonder what's going on biologically," says Walker.
Collins wonders if what killed the ospreys had anything to do with the loss of her cat, Nango. Only 3 years old, he was found dead in her neighbor's yard, in the same area as one of the dead birds.
"Whether it's coincidental or linked to it, I don't know," says Collins. "But when you have so many things that are right by the water...it kind of just raises a question."
For now there are lots of questions and no answers. An osprey carcass sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Conservation lab in Gainesville earlier this week was too deteriorated to necropsy. Two more carcasses have been sent to the lab, but it'll be at least a few days until they'll know anything, and toxicology tests can take even longer.
In the meantime, Walker would like to hear from anyone who finds a dead osprey, and urges that if you see a sick or weakened bird, to contact Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary at (727) 391-6211.
This FWC report states that toxic red tide has hit the gulf coast area where the Ospreys were killed, and there has been no impact from the dinoflagellate bloom in Tampa Bay. Yet, I wonder about whether there may be adverse red tide effects on other top predators in the food chain. So far, I have heard no reports of sick or dead Bald Eagles. The FWS website has more information and useful links.
This is from Red Tide Status Report, SW FL, 07/10/09
PRESENT STATUS: No Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was detected this week in water samples collected alongshore of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Monroe counties or offshore of Lee, Collier or Monroe counties. Two samples (of twenty one) collected alongshore of Sarasota County contained background levels of K. brevis. Discolored water in Tampa Bay (extending from the Gandy Bridge to Oldsmar) is due to a bloom of the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense. No impacts have been reported from this bloom.
The FWRI Red Tide Status Line is now available to callers to hear a recording detailing red tide conditions throughout the state. FWRI updates the recording each Friday by 5 p.m. after sampling efforts for the week have been completed and analyzed. Red Tide Status Line: (866) 300-9399 (toll-free inside Florida only); (727) 552-2448 (outside Florida).
Tables and maps of sample results are... available on our Web site (http://research.myfwc.com/features/category_sub.asp?id=4434). Please let me know if you have any questions.
Karen E. Atwood
Harmful Algal Bloom Group
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
tel: (727) 896-8626, ext 2560
fax: (727) 550-4222
Barbara Walker provided this sad update and photos concerning the Ospreys in Pinellas County:
The Osprey have had a very tough year in this county. A concerned citizen
reported that an Ospreys nesting tree was cut down. The Osprey had 2 young.
The first chick was hit by a car the day he/she fledged or pre-fledged. The
second was still being brought fish by parents but had taken at least a
first flight as I understand it. The concerned citizen called law
enforcement and submitted photos. They took pictures because they told the
people ahead of time that a permit was required. Neighbors confirmed the
tree was cut down anyway. Since the incident the Osprey have been in
distress and are confused by the loss. Losing a baby and a house in a short
time frame doesn't make for a good season. The nest was in a palm tree. If
you remove a nest a replacement pole and platform are supposed to be put up
within 300 feet of the original nest and at least the same height,
preferably higher depending on the environment.
We expect to follow up with the State Attorney's Office later this week.
There are a lot of people and a lot organizations out there trying to follow
the rules and there are some that aren't. Osprey are large birds and they
do need a good amount of space including nesting structures, perch trees and
fishing territories. When a nest falls, even by natural causes, Osprey can
become unproductive the next season while shopping for new real estate. One
pair I monitored was not successful adapting from a dead tree which fell on
a golf course to a light standard the year after the tree went down. Others
seem to find a new place easily, not always in the next property owners
favor. If they follow the rules they could get stuck with the bill if
another move is necessary.
I am so glad there are so many concerned citizens out there. Thanks again
for all you do.
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|