Monday, October 22, 2018
News Roundup

Someone in Florida painted a white ibis blue

If youíre strolling along Indian Rocks Beach this weekend, keep an eye out for the blue bird of unhappiness.

Itís a white ibis that someone painted.

"Somebody decided that was a fun thing to do," Shelley Vickery, director of the Birds In Helping Hands Wildlife Rescue in Seminole, said Thursday.

Her organization, after seeing pictures of the blue bird on Facebook, started hunting the ibis to try to scrub the paint off. Theyíre worried that it contains something toxic that might affect the ibis when it preens its feathers.

White ibis adults are supposed to be mostly white, not blue. They have black-tipped wings, a red face and red legs. Their most distinctive feature is their pink, down-curved bill, which they use to probe for food.

RELATED: Florida wildlife officials: Please stop painting the animals

Their diet consists of crabs, crayfish, fish, snakes, frogs and insects. While they prefer marshes and coastal waters, many in Florida have been displaced by development. Most Floridians see flocks of ibis stalking suburban lawns and dodging cars, not wading through mangroves.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Bill Brooks spotted the pictures of the blue ibis on a Facebook group about collecting sea shells after a co-worker passed along the tip. At first he wasnít sure whether this was a prank or a sign of science at work, so he reposted the photos to a Facebook group that snaps pictures of birds that have been banded for research.

"There are some cases where you squirt a bird with a little dye to mark it as part of a study," said Brooks, an expert on wood storks. However, the fact that it was colored blue all over indicates that the dye was, as he put it, "malicious."

RELATED: Someone covered a gopher tortoise in red paint and concrete

This is far from the first time someone in Florida has thought it clever to give some wildlife a makeover. Brooks said heís seen seagulls that had been spray-painted or had fluorescent surveyorís tape tied to their feet.

In May, a Central Florida man was arrested after a gopher tortoise turned up painted red. The man said heíd dumped a five-gallon bucket of paint and concrete down a hole and didnít realize it was a tortoise burrow.

Two years ago, so many painted animals were turning up around the state ó including an ibis in West Palm Beach that had been colored bright orange ó that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials put out a plea to the public to stop.

RELATED: Murdered flamingos, dog-eating alligators, spray-painted turtles and another year in Florida animals

"Please keep your paint on the canvas and off of wildlife," FWC officials wrote on Facebook in 2016. "White ibis are protected in Florida. Not only is it illegal to paint them, but it is cruel to paint any wildlife."

The thick orange paint on the West Palm Beach ibis had seeped so deeply into the birdís feathers that it affected its ability to fly. A wildlife rehabilitation specialist found it tough to scrub out, and had to rely on the bird molting and growing new, unpainted feathers.

Unlike in the modern world, ancient Egyptians considered the ibis a sacred bird. To them it represented Thoth, the god of wisdom and knowledge.

Contact Craig Pittman at [email protected] Follow @craigtimes.

Comments
World Series: Red Sox will give Dodgers early dose of lefties

World Series: Red Sox will give Dodgers early dose of lefties

BOSTON — The Red Sox feel going with two lefties to start the World Series against the Dodgers is the right move.With LHP Chris Sale over the stomach issues he still, smirkingly, says were caused by a belly button ring and set to start Tuesday ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romano: Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

Romano: Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

Itís happened again. Another snippet of video. Another Florida cop being questioned.This time, itís in Coral Springs, and the cop is punching the midsection of a 14-year-old girl who is pinned on the ground with two cops above her, and her hands unde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
World Series: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains a Red Sox hero

World Series: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains a Red Sox hero

BOSTON — The Dodgers already had plenty to yell about, and to toast, when they gathered in the bar of Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel late Saturday to continue the celebration of their National League championship.But as a quick clip from the ALCS 14...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: Dirk Koetter chooses his inconsistent kicker over his inconsistent quarterback

Buccaneers AfterMath: Dirk Koetter chooses his inconsistent kicker over his inconsistent quarterback

TAMPA — By beating the Browns 26-23 Sunday, the Buccaneers snapped a three-game losing streak and Tampa Bay breathed a collective sigh of relief.It wasn’t pretty, a misadventure full of interceptions, fumbles, penalties and missed kicks. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For killing his mother and niece, a half-century in prison for Pasco man

For killing his mother and niece, a half-century in prison for Pasco man

NEW PORT RICHEY ó Jason Rios will spend up to half a century in prison for the 2015 murders of his mother and niece and the attempted murder of another niece.Rios, 28, could be eligible to be released in 39 years. By then, he will be 67 ó and still s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bloomingdale video voyeur teacher: 353 new charges, $2 million bail

Bloomingdale video voyeur teacher: 353 new charges, $2 million bail

Investigators say they have uncovered an extensive amount of videos and images of under-age students secretly filmed while undressing by a Bloomingdale High School teacher who was arrested last month on a video voyeurism charge.Mark Ackett, 50, who r...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa man charged with manslaughter for failing to call 911 after Plant High studentís fatal overdose

Tampa man charged with manslaughter for failing to call 911 after Plant High studentís fatal overdose

TAMPAFailures to call 911 leads to chargesA 19-year-old Tampa man is under arrest for his role in the death of a Plant High School senior who overdosed on heroin last year just weeks before graduation. Titan Goodson, of Harbour Island, was still in t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
East Lake, Steinbrenner girls move on to state golf tourney

East Lake, Steinbrenner girls move on to state golf tourney

VALRICO — East Lake and Steinbrenner advanced to the girls Class 3A state tournament on Nov. 6-7 at the Mission Inn and Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills.The Eagles shot a team total 340 on Monday afternoon at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Scenes from the Democratic rally in Tampa, featuring Joe Biden (w/video)

Scenes from the Democratic rally in Tampa, featuring Joe Biden (w/video)

"I think there's something different about this election," Biden told the crowd. "I really mean this. Let me get to the point. This election is bigger than politics. For real. This goes well beyond. You will never have voted in an election that's mor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Trump threatens to cut aid to nations over migrant caravan

Trump threatens to cut aid to nations over migrant caravan

WASHINGTON ó President Donald Trump vowed Monday to cut off or "substantially" reduce aid to three Latin American nations, voicing fresh frustration as a growing caravan of migrants that originated in Honduras continued to make its way toward the U.S...
Updated: 4 hours ago