Life In South Florida (I)

Do you get one of these ads every day in your paper?

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3 Responses to Life In South Florida (I)

  1. Just me says:

    I love the iguanas. I know that this feeling is not universal, but I find it fun to see different animals hanging around. And the bigger ones that have turned orange are my favorite. It’s a shame there weren’t any iguanas here when I was a kid. That would have been great.

    And on that note, the flora and fauna of south Florida is completely different than when I was a kid. No iguanas back then. In fact, the local lizard population was almost exclusively brown anoles, some geckos, and every now and then a green anole (very few and far between). Today, without even looking for them, on any given walk down the street in Coconut Grove or Coral Gables, I will see three or four different species of lizards that were not present in south Florida in the past, and green anoles seem to be everywhere. Bird populations have changed too. You can see it, for example, in doves. When I was growing up here, the dominant dove species was the common ground dove. Now, the larger ringneck dove has basically taken over.

    And the plants are completely different too. (I realize as I write this, that I may have drifted off topic of the original post, but its Friday morning and I love talking about plants and animals – better than reading closing documents). In the 80’s and before, virtually every back yard had a citrus tree in it. And the variety was great. Not just orange trees, but all sorts of varieties – fruits that I have never seen in a grocery store. Today, there are virtually no citrus trees in south Florida.

    • What I notice is that there seem to be a lot fewer birds compared to when I moved here. I presume that is in large part due to pesticides killing the food supply?

      (The citrus loss is presumably due to the canker eradication program.)

  2. Just me says:

    The citrus loss is a product of the canker non-sense, yes. I remember workers coming into my back yard as a kid and cutting down our citrus trees. It is also a function of culture/immigration and development. All of those developments built out west were built after the canker eradication program cut down citrus in Miami. Many of the people who bought and and live out there moved to Miami after citrus was gone. They have no cultural connection to the citrus trees of old.

    As for the amount of birds, there are two immediate reasons I can think of that you might be seeing fewer birds:

    1) Parrot Jungle. I am guessing that you live near UM. I am also guessing that you came to Miami before Parrot Jungle moved to the beach. Back then, Parrot Jungle was off of Red Road and 104th (ish) street. Parrot Jungle allowed many of its birds to live free, and kept them coming back by the simple incentive of abundant food. Now that Parrot Jungle is gone, there is no one to feed the birds, and so, they lack the incentive to stay in the area.

    2) Development. See this article, for example: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article162878148.html.

    That said, there are certainly some birds that are thriving in the current conditions. For example, it seems to me that the peacock population (another animal that many here don’t like, but that I love) has grown since my childhood.

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