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Wading birds still flock north

One of the great things about Oldsmar is the abundance of wading birds, particularly along Shore Drive. On Friday, three wood storks rested on waterfront property across from R.E. Olds Park.

More often, you spot a solitary wood stork, maybe with an egret or two nearby. The wood stork is listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and is listed as endangered on Florida's list of imperiled species.

The bird's nesting season in Florida is from November through May, according to Florida's Birds by Herbert W. Kale II and David S. Maehr.

The wood stork once nested almost exclusively in South Florida. But between the late 1940s and late 1960s, the number of wood storks nesting there declined by 90 percent. The depth of the shallow wetlands habitat they need for feeding had been artificially altered, primarily in the Everglades. Some moved north looking for wetlands.

South Florida's loss is our gain in Central Florida and northward to Georgia and South Carolina. Perhaps someday that trend will reverse if the ebb and flow of water in the River of Grass is returned to a more natural state.

If you have news or photos about Oldsmar schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, call Theresa Blackwell at (727) 445-4170, fax it to her at (727) 445-4119, e-mail or mail material to her at the Clearwater Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.