Urban Wildlife

How Many Birds Can You Count?

Chilly weather throughout Florida has kept residents inside and close to their heaters, under blankets and in their sweats, long sleeves and socks during December and January. However, spring is just around the corner and there is wildlife to discover in your backyard!

Get your binoculars ready, because starting Feb. 18, the largest bird count in North America begins. The Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs through Feb. 21, is a wonderful chance to add to your Bird Detective checklist and help scientists monitor birds across America. If you do not have a checklist, download it from MyFWC.com/Learning. In the left-hand menu, click “Fun Stuff.” From there, look on the right side of the page under “Educator Links” for “Jr. Birder Program.”

Eighth Annual NEFAR Charity Bass Fishing Tournament Set For April 30

Eighth Annual NEFAR Charity Bass Fishing Tournament Set For April 30

For the eighth consecutive year, the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) will raise funds for the Haven Hospice Roberts Care Center in Palatka through a catch-and-release Charity Bass Fishing Tournament on April 30. NEFAR donates one hundred percent of all proceeds raised to Haven Hospice and has donated more than $124,000 during the past seven years.

North Florida Spotted Seatrout Season Closes Feb. 1

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) advises anglers that the recreational harvest season for spotted seatrout in North Florida will close for one month to help maintain spotted seatrout abundance. 

Environmental Crimes & Crime Stoppers Rewards

Local authorities are working to decrease illegal dumping in areas of Clay County and encourage you to inquire about activity you suspect may be criminal. Many types of waste, especially hazardous materials, can be a danger to the environment and to residents as well. If you witness any violation of environmental laws you can report it and remain anonymous. Be prepared to provide the date, time, and location of the dump site. Also helpful is the description of the vehicle, the tag number, description of occupants or other suspects involved.

FIRST COAST CRIME STOPPERS: 1-866-845-TIPS
CLAY COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME UNIT: 904-278-3697
WWW.CLAYSHERIFF.COM (CLICK ON ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES LINK)

Bird Disease Detected in State

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is currently monitoring a Virulent Exotic Newcastle Disease diagnosis which occurred in Cormorants in Pinellas County last week.  Exotic Newcastle Disease is an extremely contagious and fatal foreign avian disease that affects most bird species but is not life threatening to humans.  Human contact with Exotic Newcastle Disease may cause minor irritations such as pink eye or skin irritations.

High School Students: Time to Enter Manatee Art Contest

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites high school art students across the state to participate in a contest to create a piece of manatee artwork that will be used on the 2011-2012 manatee decal.

Students in grades 9-12 in Florida should coordinate with their school’s art teacher to submit the artwork, because each school may submit no more than five entries. Home-schooled students also are eligible to enter the contest. Contest details and forms are available online at MyFWC.com/Manatee.

Atlantic Snook Harvest Closes Dec. 15; Catch and Release Still OK

The recreational harvest of snook will close in all Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, beginning on Dec. 15.  The annual winter harvest season closure of snook in these areas, which normally ends on Feb. 1, has been extended until Sept. 1, 2011, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) due to the prolonged cold weather that impacted snook in Florida earlier this year.