Rare black skimmer birds return to Bay Area

- Some rare beach birds are making a comeback, but it's still a fight to survive.  Dozens of black skimmers turned up dead on St. Pete Beach last September. Now, skimmer nests have turned up at Fort Desoto.

"We haven't had successful black skimmer nesting on Fort Desoto beaches for over 20 years," said Lorraine Margeson, a volunteer with Florida Shorebird Alliance.

The black skimmer is a threatened species, and their return is especially welcome here, where they met disaster last fall. Almost 50 skimmers were killed by salmonella last September. Experts say it's from what they skimmed while feeding in Boca Ciega Bay.

Margeson and others blame it on sewage dumped by St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, and other beach towns after heavy rains overwhelmed their systems.

"It was hard, we had these beautiful birds, many of them were banded, and they would just keel over and die," recalled Margeson.

She doesn't know if these new nests can stand up against dangers like coyotes, crows, people, and bad weather. But as these threatened birds seem to battle back, she promises to help them.

"And wherever they go, we'll follow," she added, vowing to protect these new nests any way she can.

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