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Protected Birds Drive Out Beach Motorists

July 20, 2008

By Ludmilla Lelis, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.

Jul. 20–Volusia officials blocked beach driving in part of Daytona Beach Shores to shield a protected bird.

The black-skimmer chick hatched Friday, prompting a 200-yard zone around its nest near the Oceans Four Condominiums, 3013 S. Atlantic Ave. Beach traffic will be rerouted via the El Portal and the Florida Shores ramps.

It was the second time beach driving is being rerouted for black skimmers, a medium-size water bird with a black cap and back, white underbelly and a long red-and-black bill. They rarely nest on the Atlantic coast.

However, a pair of black skimmers laid a nest last year in Daytona Beach, and driving was barred for more than two weeks. Wildlife experts suspect the same pair returned and laid three eggs. Only the first hatched.

County spokeswoman Shelley Szafraniec said driving might reopen in about 20 days, depending on whether the other eggs hatch and when the chick or chicks can leave the area.

Ludmilla Lelis can be reached at llelis@orlandosentinel.com or 386-253-0964.

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