Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hendry Christmas Bird Count - 60,000

Annual Bird Count Included 45 Endangered Snail Kites

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On January 2, Audubon and its 35 volunteers made the trip to Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 5 just south of Lake Okeechobee in Hendry County for a day of intensive bird watching.

Of the diverse array of bird species sighted at the constructed wetland, American coots were by far the most abundant ­ as they were in 2009 ­ with more than 60,000 counted. Birders also took note of 45 endangered snail kites, which are native to South Florida and the Everglades, and spotted some rarer species such as a short-tailed hawk and a Cassin's kingbird, a species more common in states west of Texas.

The bird count at STA-5 once again served as a prelude to another partnership year of Audubon/SFWMD birding tours that showcase wildlife and public access on lands managed in perpetuity by the District for Everglades restoration. The 6,000-acre constructed wetland, just south of Clewiston, is today one of 489 sites on The Great Florida Birding Trail. Sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sites are selected for their prolific bird watching or bird education opportunities.

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