The Everglades Snail Kite
I haven’t written about our Everglades Snail Kite for a fairly long time, because so much of the news about them hasn’t been very encouraging.
These critically Endangered Kites were pushed out of the Everglades, their ancestral home, by the usual human suspects, fertilizer run off from US Sugar and other farmers in the area, who have been assaulting the Everglades for many years. US Sugar recently had their contract renewed and has pretty much been given free reign to continue polluting, mostly unabated. There were some minor checks written into the new contract about run off, but it will be difficult at best, to stop their rein of terror on one of the most beautiful places in the entire state.
Another factor in the dramatic drop in Kite numbers, has been the droughts for the past few years, which have only exacerbated the plight of the Kite. Extremely low water levels in many of Florida lakes, has nearly eliminated the apple snail, which has have forced the Kites to abandon their nests and the young in them.
After leaving their ancestral homes in the Everglades, the Snail Kite moved farther north to Lake Toho to begin again, but sadly, now, they will most likely have to move once again, this time because their one and only food source, the apple snail who like the Kite, also eats only a single food source, Hydrilla.
Recreational Boaters and fishermen who have complained for years about the Hydrilla weeds in Lake Toho clogging up their boats motors, have finally have convinced the right people that it must be removed, which will of course, mean the end of the snail and the kite there.
So, where will the Snail Kite go next? It would be best for them, if they could return to their ancestral home in the Everglades and an Audubon restoration plan is in the works that may help that happen. The Snail Kite could sure use a few breaks if they are to survive and we all desperately need rain in this drought ravaged state right now because water levels everywhere are at the lowest levels in many years.
Thankfully, the wet season is about to begin and we will see how this year goes for all of us.