Limpkins

January 4, 2014:  Although this new year’s annual Xmas week bird count still yielded 75 species in our assigned territory in the western portion of Palm Beach County, the area unfortunately is now comprised almost entirely of residential and commercial developments, with almost no accessible virgin land remaining. Passerines are Limpkinsincreasingly scarce each year, and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that year-to-year numbers continue their inexorable trend downward. One notable exception is the Limpkin. Ten years ago one had to search hard here to find this species, whereas now they are literally everywhere in Palm Beach County. Today we counted 26. It seems every man-made lake or pond has at least one resident Limpkin, and they are seen along the roadside, along canals, and even on lawns and on golf courses. Their shrill wailing cry is considered a nuisance in residential communties.  What has changed?  The widespread proliferation of an introduced species of large apple snail has provided the Limpkins with a limitless supply of their favorite food.

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