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Big pink birds topic of ‘Ding’ Darling lectures

By Staff | Mar 28, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Dr. Jerry Lorenz has been studying roseate spoonbills and American flamingos for nearly 30 years in Florida Bay.

Historical accounts report flocks of up to 2,500 American flamingos in Florida Bay. Although those days have vanished, birders have been sighting flamingos more regularly in recent years. Dr. Jerry Lorenz, state research director for Audubon Florida, has publicly challenged the theory that these are only escapees from tourist attractions. He believes historic populations and climate change may contribute to today’s flamingo sightings.

Having studied roseate spoonbills in Florida Bay for nearly 30 years, Lorenz is well-versed on the plight of big pink birds. He will present the lecture “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine” on April 5 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, as part of the 2019 “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture series.

Lorenz’s work banding and tracking spoonbills explains why it took so long for spoonbills to recover from plume hunting and why spoonbills in Florida Bay continue to decline while most other wading birds in the Everglades region recovered quickly after the plume trade ended. He will also speak to the recent flamingo phenomenon.

Audubon state research director since 2005, Lorenz serves as a member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and is a founding member of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resources Council.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 11-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. The free lectures are held on Fridays through April 12. The remaining schedule is listed below; some include book signings:

n April 12: Author Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, Florida”*

*book signing to follow

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save one seat and one extra one with personal items, then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel.