Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Florida Sea Turtles

You aren't mistaken, this is a weblog about birds. So what is a sea turtle entry doing here. Well, it relates to a brief comment about sea turtles that I made in this weblog Tuesday, Nov 8th. I mentioned a friend that did sea turtle rescue. It brought to mind a couple of interesting comments that she shared about saving sea turtles. So I thought I would jot them down in case others might find the information interesting.

My friend's volunteer job was to dig up the nests of eggs along the beach when tropical storms were approaching so they wouldn't be destroyed from the rising tides. It was interesting to go along with her on a couple of those occasions. She would put sand and the rescued turtle eggs into a bucket ... thus sort of re-constucting the nest. BTW, if I remember correctly the average number of eggs was around 30 or so. Then when the time was right the eggs would hatch and the babies had to be returned to the beach so they could reach the sea, as they would if there was no need to be rescued. This was always done at night. And the reason was clear. If the tiny baby sea turtles were released during the day the sea birds would catch them before they could safely reach the sea. If I remember correctly, the moonlight shining on the ocean attracts them and directs them to the water.

That fact makes me recall a comment she made about the lights shining from buildings located on the sandy part of the beach. During sea turtle (season) the rescue organizations would ask the owners of restaurants and other businesses to turn off their beach lights at night. The reason? It's because newly hatched turtles are drawn toward bright light as they make their first journey to the safety of the sea. The bright lights from the establishments would mis-direct them and they would head down the beach toward the building instead of into the sea.

I found the limited experience I had with sea turtle rescue to be fascinating ... especially watching the baby turtles scurrying down to the water when they were released. If I was still in Florida I'd sure do my best to help out. But I'd have to divide my time ... as the wild birds of Florida can always use help, too.

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