As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Barn owls threatened by Africanized bees in South Florida

Date:  June 19, 2015

Source:  University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Summary:  Throughout the past two decades, researchers have seen barn owl populations in the Everglades Agricultural Area, centered around Belle Glade, expand from mere dozens to more than 400 nesting pairs. But these beneficial raptors, currently listed as a threatened species, are now being threatened by Africanized honey bees.

Swarming as frequently as eight times per year, the invasive bees have been taking over nesting boxes Raid and students have built for the owls, using them as hives, and displacing or even killing the desired raptors.

"In 20 years, we've never had any problems with any other critters moving into our boxes," said Raid, a plant pathologist for UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "But the Africanized honey bees became established in 2005 and are spreading throughout the peninsula of Florida."

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