Roseate Spoonbills in Florida Bay: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine
In his presentation, Dr. Lorenz pulls together Audubon’s 80 year record on spoonbill nesting patterns in Florida Bay with his personal experience in studying the fish on which spoonbills feed, thereby constructing a story of how the human population explosion in southern Florida has had a multilevel effect on spoonbills. During the development boom, seemingly unrelated events serially reduced the spoonbill’s foraging habitats in domino like fashion resulting in a dramatic decline in spoonbill nesting success that continues today. His most recent work of banding and tracking spoonbills finally explains why it took so long for spoonbills to recover from the plume hunting and why spoonbills in Florida Bay continue to decline while most other wading birds in the Everglades region are increasing. Dr. Lorenz demonstrates how the destruction of wetlands for urban and agricultural use have not only endangered spoonbills, but myriad other creatures and entire ecosystems. Ecosystems that drive our tourist based economy. Like the canary in a coal mine, Roseate Spoonbills are letting us know that there is something drastically wrong with our environment and that continued runaway development will not only ruin our remaining wildness areas but our lifestyles as well.