Audubon Florida News

Everglade Snail Kites: Barometer for the Health of the Everglades and Progress of Restoration

In our continuing research and advocacy for the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, Audubon has published a new document focused on the status of this critically endangered Florida bird: Everglade Snail Kites: Barometer for the Health of the Everglades and Progress of Restoration.

The success of the federally listed endangered Everglade Snail Kite (Kite) is a key ecological indicator for the health of the Greater Everglades. As Kite research crews continue to monitor the few remaining nests throughout the Everglades ecosystem, very rough estimates of nesting success for the 2011 season have been tallied. Kites appear to have had more success this year in the Lake Tohopekeliga (Toho) region, where exotic vegetation (hydrilla) and the exotic apple snails have displaced the native flora and fauna.

The Kites are depending on this habitat since their critical habitats Lake Okeechobee and Water Conservation Area 3A (WCA-3A) suffered greatly this year from extreme drought.  Even for nests that were judged to be successful, it is likely that juvenile survival will be low, as access to food was greatly diminished as marsh water levels—and apple snails, the Kite’s main source of food—dried up. For more information about Kites on Lake Okeechobee, please read Audubon’s position paper from March 2011.

To learn more, download and share Audubon’s latest fact sheet detailing the needs of the Kite in each region it nests. You can help right now: become the Kite’s friend on Facebook to stay informed as we work with grassroots supporters and volunteers to protect this iconic Florida bird.

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