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Tag: Wildlife

ASK THE BIRD GEEK: ARE BIRDS REALLY JUST FANCY, LITTLE DINOSAURS?

Are birds really just fancy little dinosaurs? — Bi-Residential Barry Yes! Yes, they are.  I started to write about how all the birds we know can be traced to one ancient genus called archaeopteryx. They were these feathered dinosaur things, about the size of a crow, that could probably sorta fly.  I mean, the whole point of doing an “Ask the Bird Geek” column is to answer a couple of quick bird questions off the top of my head without doing a lot of research. Because I’m trying to go on vacation. Because it’s been a long pandemic and I really need to go on a vacation road trip. Like,...

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LEARNING LAWS DURING LOBSTER SEASON

Marine patrols from various law enforcement agencies conducted resource checks and safety inspections during a busy two-day lobster mini-season in the Florida Keys. With citations came education for those unfamiliar with the rules and regulations.  Monroe County Sheriff’s marine deputies in the Upper Keys, Nelson Sanchez and Marty Digrus, departed from the Plantation Yacht Harbor dock in Islamorada for patrol on Thursday morning for day two of lobster mini-season. Sanchez has spent 20 of his 26 years with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office working on the water. Digrus has spent the past eight...

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MANATEE DEATHS UP 150% ON MAINLAND CAN SERVE AS WARNING FOR FLORIDA BAY

To live in Florida, you must love manatees. They’re hopelessly awkward, adorably plump sea potatoes. And, although we’ve never hugged any (we promise — we know it’s illegal!), we find them extremely cuddly.  If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about the terrible things happening to manatees up north. More of these marine mammals have died in 2021 than in any other year in Florida’s history — and it’s only July.  As of the last Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) report, at least 841 manatees had died this year in Florida waters. The five-year...

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Arrests made in Key Largo tarpon killing

Two men have turned themselves into authorities after photos and video surfaced showing their alleged involvement in a tarpon killing in Key Largo in March. Law enforcement officials say they are still seeking another person in the case.  Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission announced late last week the arrests of Arsenio Ravelo, 21, of Homestead, and Sergio Leon, 28, of Hialeah. In March, FWC investigators received photographs and video of a large tarpon being held by three individuals on a dock at Calusa Campground in Key Largo. FWC released an image of the three young males...

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MIAMI MAN HIDING IN BUSHES CAUGHT WITH 27 ILLEGAL LOBSTERS

A Miami man is facing a number of charges after officers found him hiding in a bush with what they say was a container full of out-of-season spiny lobsters. Florida Fish & Wildlife Officer Josh Stallings was out surveilling Whale Harbor Bridge in Islamorada on July 10. At about 11 p.m., he spotted a man carrying a dip net south across the bridge. Stallings and FWC Officer Jessica Diaz found a man trying to stay out of sight in bushes. They found Thanh Doan, 47, with a clear plastic container holding 27 out-of-season spiny lobster,  16 smaller than the legal minimum size of a 3-inch...

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WILD THINGS: MIGRATING BIRDS, CIVIL WAR REENACTORS & DEAD POETS

Migration was over, at least officially, so a common yellowthroat shouldn’t have been in the seagrape, but there she was, flitting around as if schedules and range maps didn’t apply to her. Female common yellowthroats always look a little caught out to me. Males have this black mask across their face that contrasts with their yellow throat. It’s dramatically graphic and reminiscent of an old-school cartoon burglar, giving them a certain swashbuckling air.  Females have very similar coloring, if slightly duller, but without the bandit mask. Their vibe is more like they’re out trying to...

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WILD THINGS: THESE BIRDS ARE MESSING WITH ME

It’s not often that an animal messes with you just for the fun of it. Stuart, my half pit bull, used to do it. If you took him for a walk up the Keys, he would sometimes find a really long stick, balance it in his mouth, run up behind you and hit you in the back of the legs with it. Then he would stand there with a kind of Fozzie Bear look on his face, like it was the funniest thing in the world. (He did this once with an 8-foot two-by-four. Hilarious.) A couple years ago I was out in my boat and saw a pod of dolphins. I cut the engine to just watch them for a while, and they went into full-on...

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FWC WILL EXTERMINATE IGUANAS CAUGHT IN THE WILD WITHOUT MICROCHIPS AFTER OCTOBER

Florida wildlife officials are planning to take a bold step to control the state’s iguana population — extermination. They are also banning all pet ownership of iguanas in the future. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced in February that residents who currently keep iguanas as pets have to microchip the animals, apply for permits and cage them during a scheduled grace period.  As of April 29, pet owners have 90 days to apply for a no-cost permit and identify their pets with a microchip, and they must meet new outdoor caging requirements by Oct. 26,...

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TASK FORCE TACKLES LOBSTER MINI-SEASON

If you ever want a conversation to get heated on a community Facebook page, lob out this question: “Hey, do you think we should have lobster mini-season?” Then buckle up and enjoy the ride. Keys Weekly did a search on “lobster mini-season” on a local Facebook page, and we saw a post that said, “I just want to remind people that mini-lobster season is not for taking small lobster.” Commenters responded, “I wish they would do away with mini-lobster season,” and “We never go out for mini stupid season. I hide. Too many amateurs on the water with no regard to safety.” Also: “I say close mini-season...

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WILD THINGS: BIRD MIGRATION IN THE KEYS

You want to see signs of rain when you wake — puddles that weren’t there the night before, maybe wet streets. You don’t want it to have rained too early in the evening. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. is best, though later still works. You want the birds that left Cuba and parts south just after sunset to have hit the weather over the Keys, to know their migration was done for the night, and to set down. You want it to rain enough that, after the birds have given up on the evening’s long-haul flight, they don’t keep moving forward on short hops. That’s how it works in my head, at least....

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