Audubon of Florida has released a preliminary 2011 Everglade Snail Kite nesting summary. A successful nesting season is crucial for the survival of the Everglade Snail Kite. Over the last dozen years, the population of this iconic Florida species has decreased from 3400 individuals to less than 700 today.
The preliminary assessment of the 2011 Kite nesting season shows mixed results. Kites suffered in their listed critical habitats, Lake Okeechobee and the Water Conservation Areas in the Central Everglades due in large part to abnormally low water levels. As water levels fell in late spring 2011, Kite numbers declined in this region. Meanwhile, Kites had a fairly successful year in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is not listed as critical Kite habitat but is an important bridge to sustain habitat.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s exotic plant management decisions aided nesting success in this region. For more information on aquatic plant management for Kites, take a look at Audubon of Florida Lake Okeechobee Science Coordinator Dr. Paul Gray’s September 16 report. Researchers will finalize the nesting season assessment in March 2012. Meanwhile, Dr. Gray maintains close contact with Kite experts from across the state to follow the status of this iconic bird of the Everglades.
Audubon is dedicated to promoting a healthy Everglade Snail Kite population, emphasizing the importance of water conservation for the protection of this important Everglades restoration indicator species. For the latest Everglade Snail Kite news and information, please see our category page for this species.