Florida's shorebird community hit hard by Tropical Storm Debby

9:07 AM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) - Tropical Storm Debby took a heavy toll on shorebirds in the Tampa Bay area.

The Tampa Tribune reports bird stewards have been assessing the impact on bird colonies. The storm hit the Gulf coastlines along central and north Florida in late June.

Bird experts say thousands of tern and gull chicks and eggs were washed to sea.

The National Audubon Society's Marianne Korosy told the Tribune the black skimmer chicks were the hardest hit.

Three bird nesting colonies were destroyed in Clearwater, Indian Shores and the Three-Rooker Bar area.

Eckerd College biology professor Elizabeth Forys says the black skimmers may re-nest this summer. But it's probably too late for the laughing gulls and royal terns.

Some chicks survived and were taken to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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