Mysterious illness affecting laughing gulls on Siesta Key and Lido Beach

Mysterious Laughing Gull Sickness

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - More than two dozen laughing seagulls have been brought to at Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota in recent days, where half have died and the other half are fighting to survive.

“Very lethargic, they’re not able to stand or keep their head up, they’re not able to walk, so they’re basically laying around on the beach,” said Dana Leworthy, Avian Hospital Administrator for Save Our Seabirds.

Experts have yet to determine what’s causing this. They say it could be something the birds are eating or could be toxic in nature similar to the issues the birds experienced last year from red tide.

A majority of them have come in from Siesta Key, some from Lido Beach. Beachgoers we talked with say they’ve seen some dead laughing gulls between Beach Access 12 and 13 and on other parts of Siesta Key.

“I was heartbroken when you told me that, look at them they are so cute,” said Tiffany, a Lido Beach visitor.

The staff at Save Our Seabirds are expecting many more laughing gulls to come in. They are optimistic the remaining ones they are helping will be healthy enough to get back out in the wild soon.

“When they’re coming in, we’re basically giving them support of care, we’re giving them fluids and then slowly working them up to food,” said Leworthy.

If you come across a sick or dead laughing gull, you’re being asked to report it to FWC or Save Our Seabirds.

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