Property Owners Handbook - Page 44

V I . H abitats 42 is difficult to take off from the ground or water, so most flights begin and end at the top of a tall tree. On a much smaller scale are the many variations of seagulls found roaming on the beach. In actuality there is no such “Seagull” species. The name has become a catch-all for a wide variety of gulls. Many of the gulls feed on the wave crests, and don’t actually dive into the water. The favorite of many locals are the brown pelicans. The se birds are very playful and have quite a bit of personality. They are known for their great dives into the water. The tremendous splash into the water stuns the fish. The bird then uses its beak as a fish net, scooping up the fish. Although the pelican is a threatened species, we are fortunate that the population along our Beach Park is plentiful. As the sun sets, there is nothing more beautiful than the sight of a soaring pelican. Another interesting Beach Park creature is the omnivorous loggerhead turtle. This large, reddish-brown turtle is covered by a very thick shell, especially toward its back. This reptile lives 20 years before it reaches maturity. It is always a special time between May and August when these turtles come on shore to lay their eggs. A few have even hatched at Bonita Bay’s Beach Park. Their biggest threat in the United States is raccoons that find and destroy the eggs. Another threat is the artificial light that shines over the beach. Mistaking the light for moonlight, the disoriented hatchlings head toward the shore lights instead of the water, only to die from exhaustion, cars, etc. The Sea Turtle Protection w w w. B o n i t a B a y Re s i d e nt s .c o m