Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Sickened Shorebirds Being Investigated

December 21, 2021

In recent weeks, SCCF staff and partners in the region have been encountering numerous sick and dead birds in Lee and Collier counties. The majority of these birds have been gulls and terns, especially Sandwich (Thalasseus sandvicensis) and common (Sterna hirundo) terns. If you see a sick bird on the beach, please call the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) at 239-472-3644. CROW is having some of the deceased birds necropsied to determine the cause of death. In 2018, the islands experienced a similar mortality event with sandwich and common terns, and research indicated their illness was associated with brevetoxicosis and Bisgaard taxon 40-induced sepsis. Please report dead shorebirds to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Avian Mortality reporting site If you have questions, please email

If you live outside of Lee County, find the nearest organization that rehabilitates shorebirds at


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