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Digest

Dateline Florida

By TIMES STAFF
Published April 18, 2007


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CRYSTAL RIVER

LIGHTNING HIT CRANES BEFORE THEY DROWNED

The 17 members of the whooping crane Class of 2006 that perished in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in early February may not have been trapped and drowned after all. The birds likely were knocked out by a nearby lightning strike and then drowned, a necropsy shows. The strike was recorded at 3:16 a.m. Feb. 2 near the pen. "It is assumed that lightning stunned the birds and they drowned as a result," according to Operation Migration, which organizes annual ultralight-led migrations to and from the refuge. The birds originally were thought to have been trapped by a top-netted pen, unable to escape the flooding.

SANFORD

Eagles removed from airport area

Eagles and airports don't mix. So, the eagles had to go. Which is why on Tuesday a worker scaled a pine tree and lowered two baby eagles one at a time from a nest in the Midway community east of Sanford, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The first bird appeared to be only 3 weeks old, while the second and larger bird was closer to 4 weeks old, Audubon officials said. Officials at Orlando Sanford International Airport got federal clearance to take three nests down after reporting that eagles were presenting a danger to aircraft when an eagle collided with a plane last year. Tuesday's was the third nest to be removed.

Miami

His hunger strike supports Haitians

The 101 Haitian migrants who landed in South Florida recently in a dilapidated boat are sill being detained and a Haitian-American U.S. Army veteran is protesting their treatment with a hunger strike. Henri Petithomme, 32, is in the second week of drinking only water and Gatorade. He hopes the U.S. will grant temporary legal status to the Haitians, as it has done before for citizens from several Central American nations after natural disasters, political strife or other extreme situations. "This is a peaceful way of accomplishing a goal, the same way Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi used," he said.

OCALA

In deep doo-doo over 300 cats

The floor of Jonathan Terpstra's Ocala home was covered with animal feces 2 and 3 inches deep. That's what happens when you have as many as 300 cats living with you. And they apparently have been there at least five years. Terpstra, 61, is in jail on 55 animal cruelty charges, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Go stir crazy

Times food editor Janet K. Keeler offers weekday inspiration and recipes for busy cooks at blogs. tampabay.com/food.

[Last modified April 18, 2007, 03:06:54]


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