To all the creatures

Dear reader, 

I’m glad you haven’t gotten bored of my blogs yet. 

So far, I’ve made it half way through my internship in Biscayne National Park. I feel incredibly blessed to be experiencing first hand the wonders of working as marine biologist do.

As opposed to going on about how good my internship has been, today I will share some of the incredible wildlife I’ve seen so far in South Florida.

Brown pelican

One cloudy day, as my fellow Mosaics intern and I were helping the water quality team collect data from the sites in the bay, this juvenile Brown Pelican approached the boat and was hesitant to leave our side.

Brown Pelicans can be commonly found in coastal and marine environments. Although they are endangered, they can be seen often in the waters of Biscayne National Park. They are strong swimmers and can dive from as high as 65 feet into the ocean to eat small fish. Brown pelicans may also scavenge and steal food from other animals. They are monogamous during mating season and care for the young by feeding them regurged food. Pelicans are susceptible to abandoned fishing lines and are heavily impacted by ocean oil spills. It is important to conserve coastal and estuarine habitats like mangroves, shrubs, and sand dunes to help the species propagate.

Manatees

Every time we perform creel surveys in the Black Point Marina, we get visits from not one but several manatees! These gentle giants come out whenever there’s not much boat traffic to see if they can graze in any plants. The weirdest thing we’ve found out is that sometimes when fishermen throw fish remains in the water, manatees start munching on it. We’ve known manatees to be herbivores, however, if seagrass populations have declined, manatees adapt to the pressured environmental conditions. Manatees are a migratory species and can be found in estuarine, coastal, and freshwater channels or slow moving bodies of water. It is important to follow boating rules and look out for sea mammals when driving boats to prevent any incidents where manatees may get hurt.

Barred Owls

During a rainy day off, I wondered over to the neighboring Everglades National Park. I had the opportunity to witness the incredible wetlands filled with varied vegetation and animals. Since the day was windy and cloudy, I did not get to see alligators. However, our avian friends could be seen everywhere as they moved by the tree branches to get sheltered. As we were driving, we couldn’t help but stop to see these majestic creatures. As we stopped to appreciate these two barred owls, they contemplated us and seemed just as surprised to be seeing as we were with them. Barred owls hunt mostly at dawn but can be seen hunting at dawn. Females remain much of the time with the young, while males hunt and bring food. They are much less aggressive than their distant relative The Great Horn Owl. Barred owls mainly may feed in small mammals, insects or reptiles. It is important to conserve their habitat by reducing deforestation and educating communities about wildfires where owls are vulnerable to these phenomenons.

3 Comments
  • Dr. Maria D. Cruz
    Posted at 09:52h, 15 July

    Great article! Loved learning about the Pelican, manatee and owl! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Dr. Denise Hart
    Posted at 13:51h, 15 July

    Love seeing these beautiful creatures of nature. Hopefully, more people will be alert to protecting our various species. A pelican sat next to me on the beach in Sanibel. It was quite a surprise when it took a deep dive then settled in for a rest! The owl is stunning and our mild mannered manatees are so very special ❤️
    Dr. Denise Hart

  • Nayda G
    Posted at 16:06h, 19 July

    Great article!!!!

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