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    Posted December 12, 2012 by
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

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    Razorbill: Victim of Hurricane Sandy?


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Kendotm, a retired surgeon in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, stopped at the Boynton Inlet in Boca Raton on Wednesday and noticed a large group of people with high-powered telescopes, binoculars, and long-lens cameras. He learned about their mission to view the razorbill, a puffin-like bird famous for wintering in a highly concentrated area in the Gulf of Maine. (See his other interview here.)

    He met Florida Nature Tours owner Wes Biggs, who flew from San Francisco to Florida this week in hopes of making a sighting.

    There have been more sightings of the razorbills in Florida in the past week than ever reported in the state's history, says Stephen Kress, Vice President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society and director of the Audubon's seabird restoration program.

    While Superstorm Sandy in October might have been a factor in moving the birds south, the razorbills are facing a larger problem caused by climate change, Kress said.

    'Part of this problem is that razorbills need to eat a lot of food,' Kress said.'They eat small fish, and they need to be in places where the foods supplies are abundant, and forage fish for razorbills are affected by temperature and ocean currents. We're seeing all along the coast, changes in the distribution of birds related to the amount of food which they can find.'

    Sadly, Kress said, most of the birds found in Florida will quite likely die because they're not finding the food they need.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    The Razorbill, a seabird similar to a Puffin, winters from Canada and Maine South to NJ, Maryland, NY. Now is being seen in South Florida. Groups of Birders, flock to reports of sighting to view rare species. One man has spent 50 years trying to sight this species. He holds the FL record for recorded species bird sightings. Birders "flock" to sightings using internet and birding weblinks. They imitate the behavior of the species they view.

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