Suncoast road is a sandhill crane danger zone

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:19 pm | Updated: 5:36 pm, Tue Oct 1, 2013.

SARASOTA - The Suncoast has long been considered a haven for birds of all types.  But during season, thousands can be spotted walking along area roadways, where a distracted driver could be the difference between life and death for many of those exotic species.

Some believe one area of Palmer Ranch in particular, McIntosh Road just south of Central Sarasota Parkway, is not safe for wildlife.

"My understanding is that someone was texting while driving when they hit the animal," said Kevin Barton with the Wildlife Center of Venice.

The animal he's referring to was a mother sandhill crane crossing the road with her baby.  And, just days before that, on the same stretch of roadway, Barton say the chick's father was also hit and killed.  "She was orphaned by a car accident. The number one and two issues that happen to cranes are cars and golf balls, and we ended up with her after she was orphaned."

The baby crane is just 3 weeks old.  And, while they haven't named her yet, officials have placed her with another crane who is rehabbing at the facility.  "We had one that is recovering from a golf ball wound that is actually acting as the surrogate mother for the crane.  Its made for an easy rehabilitation job because she is taking over most of the critical work," said Barton.

And as the chick peeks out from behind its new mom, Barton doesn't want the positive ending of this situation to distract from the need to decrease the danger level on McIntosh and other roadways.

"What we want is people to drive slow, especially where they know the animals are," said Barton.

In addition there is talk about putting up signs to alert drivers that the birds tend to frequent the area.  "If there is an area where a crane walks often I would love to see that kind of awareness brought to them.  Make people think twice when they might have not otherwise" added Barton.

Officials are hoping as they get the word out more people will support the initiative to get signs in the area.

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1 comment:

  • greyfel posted at 6:27 pm on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    greyfel Posts: 8

    I tried to get warning Sandhill Crane signs put on Beneva Rd. near Gulf Gate Drive. Many cranes cross Beneva from Gulf Gate East to the church property across the road. Several have been killed. When I contacted the county I was told that they didn't have the money to put up the signs and that more signs on the roadways would "clutter" up the roads. I even asked for help from the president of the Audubon Society, but got no help there either.
    Just a few days ago, an entire family of Sandhill Cranes tried to cross and came very close to being mowed down by motorists, fortunately they did make it this time.
    I was so disgusted to be told that this very affluent county could not afford a few signs to protect wildlife. There are several of the signs on other roads but they have been there for a long time and evidently they don't want to spend the money on any more of them.[sad]


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