Birds suffering from neurological problems due to Red Tide
CAPE CORAL, Fla.– Red Tide blooms can be serious for the environment, it does not only impact the fish.
While there have been several fish kills reported recently from Carlos Point Beach in Estero to a Canal in Cape Coral, birds are also affected by the algae.
Experts said the birds brought in for treatment to CROW and Audubon in Collier County are exhibiting neurological problems like an inability to move. According to officials, this is a telltale sign that they’ve been eating fish contaminated with Red Tide.
“Sometimes people describe it as being drunk or intoxicated. They can’t walk straight or maybe their head is wobbling.” said Audrey Albrecht, a Bird Biologist from the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. “Just those unusual behaviors indicate that something is going on. And by the time that we can catch them, they are unable to fly.”
Brevetoxin is the neurotoxin poisoning the birds. When ingested it can affect motor functions and even cause death. Albrecht said wildlife hospitals are used to dealing with this ailment later on in the season, when migratory birds have already gone.
“It’s really heartbreaking. I’ve seen this a lot in the past in the fall migrations when they come back from having nested. But this one feels different because it’s happening before they are migrating so these birds may have to fly a couple thousand miles,” she said.
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