Something is making the laughing gulls sick on Lido Beach. Is this the effects of red tide, or could it be something else?
Dana Leworthy, hospital administrator at Save Our Seabirds’ avian hospital, said that it started when nine laughing gulls were brought in showing signs of sickness. In just matter of days, they were treating more than 25 birds from the area.
The concern is because red tide does not appear to be present in the Tampa Bay area. There are samples from Collier County that have tested positive. Leweorthy said the symptoms (on the surface) present the same.
“This is the same kind of results we had last year, same as red tide. Listless, they’re not able to stand or keep their head up. The first few that came in were really down and they passed away immediately. The ones that are coming in now are a little more livelier and they have been able to pull through.”
While the birds coming in now from Lido and Siesta Key beaches seem to be responding to treatment, the folks at Save our Seabirds are bracing for more. With no reason for the illness, it’s cause for concern. Leweorthy adds…
“Is this an isolated incident or are we going to see other species affected?”
They will need to rely on all beach-goers to keep an eye out for any unusual activity from the birds in the area. Be on the lookout for sick birds with signs such as not being able to walk or stand, a bird that would not fly away from you, or one that’s just kind of laying. That’s all abnormal.
Save our Seabirds asks that if you do spot what you feel is a sick seagull, to please contact them at: 941-388-3010.
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