Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida Group Helps Seabirds Find Safety On Shore

SARASOTA, FL - The seabirds native to the Florida coast are exposed to life-threatening dangers every day, many of which are created by common practices of human life. Save Our Seabirds is a Sarasota-based nonprofit with a mission to educate and rescue seabirds in the Sunshine State.

Save Our Seabirds (SOS) Founder Lee Fox explains that 99 percent of the time people are unaware that what they're doing can hurt birds, such as the sandhill crane.

"For instance, cranes can get fishing line on their feet and wind up losing their toes. Or the plastic that people put down to retard the growth of weeds gets stuck around their bills."

When this happens, Fox says, the birds cannot eat, and they starve to death unless someone helps them.

SOS receives no public funding for its work and relies exclusively on private donations. On Thursday, the group is holding a fundraising dinner at the Long Boat Key Club and Resort.

Fox says every year SOS rehabilitates at least 1,000 birds found along Florida's coast, but more needs to be done.

"Although the actual rehabilitation is very, very important, it's just a Band-aid unless we educate people about what is happening to the birds and how they can help."

SOS reminds people to never feed seabirds and always remember to properly dispose of fishing line, since many marine animals and birds can become entangled in it.

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