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Rare snail kite nests found in Florida

July 15, 2008 at 1:14 AM   |   Comments

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., July 15 (UPI) -- Rare Everglade snail kite nests have been found in Florida's Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, conservationists said.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said they are the first snail kite nests found in the area in a decade, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Monday. The rare raptor has been on the federal endangered species list for 40 years. There estimated to be 700 to 800 snail kites in Florida, down from 1,200 last year.

Biologists said 12 adult snail kites and four nests were found in a small wetland area near the entrance to the park. One nest had three hatchlings and another had three eggs.

"Every nest, every bird that is produced right now is absolutely critical to keeping their population sustained through time," researcher Wylie Kitchens told the newspaper.

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