With Roseate Spoonbills heading to Everglades National Park for nesting, park officials have temporarily closed two areas of the park to provide some protection for the birds.
During the winter nesting season, the park will close Carl Ross Key and Frank Key Channel to the public. These temporary closures are intended to provide added protection for two of Florida Bay's most significant spoonbill colonies.
Nesting spoonbills can be easily spooked by passing boats and other human activity, prompting them to leave their nests and expose their eggs and young to predators such as vultures and crows, according to park officials.
Both Sandy Key and Frank Key have been permanently closed to public entry for more than 20 years to protect these nesting colonies.
Park patrols of Carl Ross, Sandy and Frank Keys will be increased during the 2013-2014 nesting season to ensure that the spoonbills are protected and that these closures are observed.
The park is working with local anglers and boaters to help inform the public and visitors of these temporary closures and provide information about the threats to spoonbills and the rationale for these actions.