By Chet Blazak
The Limpkin is the champion of Florida birds for its ability to adapt to a changing environment. It is a wading bird with striking chocolate brown plumage with pronounced white spotting on its back making it unmistakable.
Limpkins are traditionally a food specialist, only eating apple snails. Over the last century due to loss of habitat and sensitivity to pesticide run-off, the apple snail population has significantly been reduced.
Rather than succumb to extinction, the Limpkin found a new food source, the fresh water mussel. The mussel is abundant in Central Florida. It loves to bury itself in the sandy shorelines of our retention pools.
In Celebration, most of the retaining ponds and the marsh areas around Celebration Golf Course are ideal habitats for the fresh water mussels.
The Limpkins have taken notice and are now trying to re-establish a breeding population.
Limpkins have successfully bred in Celebration in the last few years. Marshes, which line a few of the holes at Celebration Golf Course, host a nesting pair. A few feed during early morning at the back of Lake Reinhart.
The Limpkin is an interesting bird in that it is the only member of the taxonomical Family Aramidae. It fits in with no other family of birds and is essentially a nocturnal bird although it can be encountered during the daytime in early morning and at dusk.
It’s famous loud piercing night call ”kree-ow,” was used as the voice-over for Buckbeak, Rubeus Hagrid’s pet Hippogryph in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Both Harry Potter and Sirius Black get a chance to ride on the magical creature.
I hope that the Limpkin can successfully re-establish itself as a permanent resident bird in Celebration. It is truly one of a kind!
The above article appears in the August 2019 edition of the Celebration News