Experts hope frigatebirds follow fake calls to old nests

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has set up a sound system in the remote, uninhabited islands west of Key West in the hopes of enticing magnificent frigatebirds back to abandoned nesting sites.

The Citizen reports ( http://bit.ly/1OYJo2R ) that up to 30 lifelike frigatebird models have been placed in the mangroves throughout the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Each decoy has the male frigatebird’s signature red throat pouch and continuously plays its clicking, whistling calls.

Frigatebirds regularly nested in the refuge through the 1980s. Biologists say human activities may have caused the large seabirds to limit their nesting recently to the Dry Tortugas, about 40 miles west of the Marquesas Keys.

Wildlife officials say expanding nesting areas could keep frigatebird populations healthy amid threats from hurricanes and rising sea levels.

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