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Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society

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					Eagle’s                                                                                                Nest
The




Our 43rd Year of Environmental Activism!                                                         Volume 43 #2 December 2008

                                    Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society
                                                       Christmas Bird Count
You can be a part of the oldest and largest citizen science project anywhere! For 109 years, Christmas Bird Count volunteers have
been collecting information on the birds in communities across the Western Hemisphere. The CBC database now contains more
than a century of data on early-winter bird populations, helping scientists and birders monitor the ranges and numbers of many
species. This one-day annual event is an opportunity to meet birders from your area or from another part of the country, hone
your birding skills, and take part in a seasonal tradition.
This year the Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count will be Saturday, December 27, 2008. There will be teams
spread out over our 15-mile-radius "circle." Most teams will go dawn to dusk , counting birds all day with a break for lunch. I know
it sounds long, but try it and you will be back next year! You do NOT have to be a good birder to participate! Everybody has to
start sometime, and this is a golden opportunity to learn. Last year we counted 93 bird species! We had the highest count any-
where of Snail Kites, a record count of 51 for our circle!
There is a $5 fee for participants. This goes to National Audubon to help fund the CBC and you get a nice booklet later in the year
about the count results. KVAS will pay the $5 fee this year for all those who have never participated in any CBC before. So if you
are a first-timer, it's free! Our Count-Down Dinner will be at The Catfish Place in St. Cloud. We will swap stories, have each team
brag about (I mean announce) their results, and eat some real good food!
To sign up contact Peggy Cholley, our CBC Chair. Peggy can be reached at pegs04@CFL.RR.com and 407-580-5384.
We hope to see you at the Christmas Bird Count! (Photo below is last year’s Pleasant Hill Road team at Southport Park.)

Eagles Nest is Going Green

KVAS has made the decision to cut back on the number of printed copies of
each newsletter issue. We are asking members who are willing to give up hav-
ing a paper Eagle’s Nest sent to them to notify us by email. To make the
change, email LarryRosen@CFL.RR.com. The newsletter will be accessible (in
color!) on our website in PDF format. You will also get an email announcing
each issue with a link to get it from the website. We will continue to send a
paper newsletter for those of us who would rather have a printed copy sent
for whatever reason. This effort is to help save some trees and some money in
the process. With today's economy every little bit helps. We need everyone’s
help to make this transition work. Please send us those email addresses so we                       Upcoming Field Trips
can keep you informed electronically. Drop us a line with any questions!
                                                                                         Sunday, January 25, 2009 -- Viera Wetlands

 Species List: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip, Dec. 7, 2008          Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 -- Orlando Wetlands Park
Ring-billed Gull        Northern Pintail    Reddish Egret          Dunlin                Festival
Sandhill Crane          Northern Shoveler   White Ibis             Lesser Yellowlegs
Boat-tailed Grackle     Hooded Merganser    Glossy Ibis            Killdeer              Sunday, February 15, 2009 -- Hal Scott Preserve
Sora                    Turkey Vulture      Wood Stork             Least Sandpiper
American Coot           Osprey              Roseate Spoonbill      Caspian Tern          Sunday, March 15, 2009 -- Disney Wilderness
Double-crested Cormo-   Northern Harrier    Wild Turkey            Forster’s Tern        Preserve
rant                    Bald Eagle          Northern Mockingbird   Snow Goose
Pied-billed Grebe       Great Blue Heron    Belted Kingfisher      Palm Warbler          Sunday, April 26, 2009 -- Joe Overstreet Landing
Blue-winged Teal        Tri-colored Heron   Brown Pelican          Common Yellowthroat   & Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area
Green-winged Teal       Green Heron         White Pelican          Red-bellied Wood-
American Wigeon         Snowy Egret         Black-bellied Plover   pecker
The Eagle’s Nest Page 2



          The Eagle’s Nest                     PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
               Published by the
                                               KVAS has had a good start to our 2008-2009 season. Those of you who have participated
    Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society
                PO Box 420115                  in our chapter’s activities have had some great bird sightings, toured some of the nice natu-
         Kissimmee, FL 34742-0115              ral areas Florida has to offer, and attended some top-quality talks by authorities on anole
   Articles for the newsletter are welcomed.   lizards and two endangered bird species.
                                               Five members were able to attend Audubon Assembly in October in Crystal River. This is
     Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society          an annual gathering of Audubon members from around Florida to learn, to experience na-
            Board of Directors                 ture in the part of the state the meeting is in, and to decide on Audubon of Florida’s con-
                     Officers                  servation priorities for the year ahead. Often people attend mainly for the field trips and
                                               social events but find some of the educational sessions too good to pass up.
President       Larry Rosen 407-729-5168       Some of the best information at the Assembly was presented by scientists who have been
                LarryRosen@cfl.rr.com          studying the effect of the loss of “short-hydroperiod wetlands” on bird populations. These
                                               are wetlands that only have standing water for a few months of the year or less. Often they
VP              Peggy Cholley
                                               are lost to development disproportionately because they are easier to build on than wetter
                pegs04@cfl.rr.com
                                               areas and regulatory agencies operate on a principle of “no net loss of function.” This
Secretary       Sandie Mulrooney               means to the agencies that if the water gets stored in new artificial deep retention ponds
                istalkbirds@yahoo.com          instead of in a shallow layer in, say, a pine flatwoods habitat, that is okay because at least
                                               the water is not running off downstream somewhere. Evaluation of nesting success of sev-
Treasurer       Dick Diener                    eral bird species, particularly Wood Storks, shows that shallow, short-period wetlands are
                dickdiener@aol.com             very important for these birds, which use these wetlands for foraging in preparation for
                Committee Chairs               nesting season.
                                               In our area we have seen other, similar impacts on wildlife from loss of natural wetlands,
Conservation: Karol Graham                     even in subdivisions where there are extensive retention pond systems. The ponds are
              kgraham38@yahoo.com              usually built with steep shorelines dropping sharply into deep water. This stores plenty of
                                               water but gives wading birds and dabbling ducks almost no place to search for food. I will
Education:       Jenny Welch
                                               never forget one winter several years ago when my Christmas Bird Count team ended our
                 mwelch@cfl.rr.com
                                               day at sunset in the area that is now Bellalago off Pleasant Hill Road. There was a small wet-
Fundraising: Kimberly Titterington             land that had not been developed yet. We watched, quite excited, as 144 Sandhill Cranes
             kim@shutterburn.com               flew in and stood in the shallow water to roost for the night. More were still arriving when
                                               we left! That wetland is now part of a large, deep retention pond, with no place for birds
Membership: Susan Parent                       to stand in the water.
            sparent20@yahoo.com                Fortunately, some retention ponds are now being designed differently, with a “littoral
                                               shelf” or marshy area near the shoreline, and native vegetation allowed to grow. The
Programs:         Available!
                                               newer designs still must be fought for in some jurisdictions, however, as some developers
Editor:           Charles Titterington         and government agencies are still behind the times. Audubon of Florida is making its scien-
                 charles@shutterburn.com       tific staff and findings more available so that chapters like ours can make an educated and
                                               compelling case before the planning commission and county commission when faced with
Field Trips:      Peggy Cholley                unwise development plans. We only have a few members working on this at the present
                                               time and would be more effective with more, so let me know if you can help!
Publicity:        Grayce Woessner              At any rate, enjoy Central Florida’s cool season and take advantage of the upcoming meet-
                 dwoessner@cfl.rr.com
                                               ings, field trips, and the Christmas Bird Count (Saturday, Dec. 27) that we have planned!
               Members-at-Large                  Larry
                  Roslyn Scheer
               Kimberly Titterington
                  Mike Johnson
                                                     Upcoming Public Program Meetings at KUA; 6:45 PM
               Snowbirds-on-Board              January 27 - Pat Lamond: Midway Atoll
                  Frank Benham
                 Nancy Benham                  February 24 - TBA
                                               March 24 - Dan Pennington: Wildlife-friendly Land Management
  www.KissimmeeAudubon.org
                                               April 28 - TBA
                                                                                                The Eagle’s Nest Page 3


Florida Venomous Snakes FYI
   First of all, before I start this article I would like everyone to know I am not an expert with these issues. I have looked
to trusted friends that deal with venomous snakes on a daily basis.
   We have a young friend, Matt, who is 13. He was recently bitten and envenomated by a Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
(Sistrurus miliarius barbouri). It is a fact that most people are bitten when they try kill or handle venomous snakes. A lot
of cases are due to just stepping on or near these little guys. The average size is between 12 and 24 inches. The rattle is
so small that most of the time you will not hear it until you are way too close.
   Matt is a good kid, eager to learn, and has a passion for animals. Matt did not try to pick up this snake; the bite was a
true accident. He was playing in the park near his home. When he went to pick up his book bag, to his surprise he had a
small snake attached to his index finger. At first glance he realized that it was a young Pygmy Rattlesnake. Knowing this
snake was venomous, Matt quickly went home to his grandmother, who took him to Celebration Hospital.
   At this point, Mathew was in the hospital telling his story to the nurses and doctors. Although this young boy could
identify all of the venomous snakes in Florida, the hospital was hesitant to accept a 13-year-old boy’s knowledge of
snakes. When the venom’s effects started to show, the hospital kept him for observation to watch the progression and
severity of the effects of the venom. This is a standard protocol in these situations for adults. It is better to avoid
antivenom if possible due to any risks that may occur with it, such as allergic reactions. Because of Matt’s age, he was
moved to Orlando two hours later to a specialist. Keep in mind that this bite is on a 13-year-old’s index finger and the
envenomation was from a pit viper which has a hemotoxin that destroys tissue. No antivenom was given to Matt. Over a
week’s time, his finger was swollen with decay from the dead tissue. With time, the doctor had to remove the dead tis-
sue that was on Matt’s finger and after doing so he had to perform a skin graft from Matt’s hand, which thankfully took.
   I have spoken with some of my friends who are professionals in the area of venomous snakes and venom in general
about Matt’s situation and what he has gone through. They were surprised that a child was envenomated by a Pygmy
Rattler and there were no steps taken to give the child any antivenom. There is an antivenom called CroFab (Crotalidae
Polyvalent Immune Fab) that is known to have fewer chances of an allergic reaction, since it is produced from sheep, not
horses. A simple skin test would have shown the doctors if there was any reaction to the product. If Matt was given any
antivenom it could have stopped the venom in his body from causing any further damage, which in this case would have
reduced his chances of needing a skin graft.
I urge everyone to learn how to identify our snakes in Florida. These facts could help save your life one day. Education
is the key to safely living with these beautiful creatures.
Here are some links worth investigating; by all means research and learn. There is lots of great information out there:
http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/venomous_snake_identification.shtml
http://venomoussnakesfl.com/

 Charles Titterington
                                                                                POST OFFICE BOX 420115
                                                                                KISSIMMEE, FL 34742-0115
                                                                                KISSIMMEE VALLEY AUDUBON SOCIETY




Green Heron seen skulking in the salt marsh at Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge on our December 7 field trip.         Photo by Larry Rosen


                              THANKS...
● Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) for hosting our meetings
● Everglades Law Center for their hard work for KVAS and the future
of our region

To join Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society go to our website at http://
KissimmeeAudubon.org and click “Join!” Then print out the member-
ship form, fill it out, and send with a check to National Audubon. Put
chapter code “E39” on your check. You can always contact KVAS to
make sure the chapter has your current home address and email.
Thanks!
                                                                                PERMIT #40136
                                                                              NONPROFIT ORG.
                                                                              U.S. POSTAGE PAID

                                                                             KISSIMMEE, FL 34744

				
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