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22 May 2009

Florida Factoid Friday

Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, along Florida's 'Space Coast', is the number 11 Ecotour Destination of the world. It borders the Indian River Lagoon Estuary, with the most diverse number of plants and animals in North America. There are (were) several indigenous species found only here, including the (now extinct) Dusky Seaside Sparrow.

The Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens) was non-migratory and lived only in the marshes of the St. John’s River and Merritt Island on Florida’s mid-Atlantic coast. A 70 percent decline in population was recorded following the use from 1942 to 1953 of DDT to control mosquitos on Merritt Island. In further efforts to eliminate mosquitos in 1956 in the Kennedy Space Centre region, Merritt Island nesting grounds were flooded to make mosquito control impoundments, causing another drop in numbers. Then marshes along the St. John’s River were drained to aid highway construction, putting yet more pressure on the population.

By 1980, six remaining individuals, all males, had been captured to establish a captive breeding program that was eventually unsuccessful because no females were ever found. They lived out their lives in a Walt Disney World nature reserve called Discovery Island. The last male died in June 1987.


Aunty Belle said...

UNcle used to go duck huntin
in mosquito lagoon --sad the wee dusky bird is gone now.

Ain't Florida a fabulous statge, all the same?


徵信社 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.