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New dating hotspots open in the Florida Keys, this time for frigatebirds

Greg Lasley/VIREO
Magnificent Frigatebirds

Imagine lush mangroves, romantic background music and about two dozen good looking members of the opposite sex. Sounds like the perfect place to meet your mate. 

At least that's what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is going for, as it tries to get  the Magnificent Frigatebirds of the Florida Keys to relocate their nesting sites.

The Citizen reported that scientists from the agency have set up 20 to 30 plastic life-like Frigatebirds with bright red pouches and a sound system that repeats the amorous, but often screeching, mating calls in a series of dating hotspots located on the  Key West National Wildlife Refuge. 

They're hoping to attract large congregations of the birds and re-establish once popular nesting spots in the mangrove limbs of  sites like Lakes Passage and Marquesas Keys.

Experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the birds have only laid eggs in the Dry Tortugas in recent decades and there is concern that the environment there might not be able to accommodate enough nesting locations to sustain the local  frigatebird population. 

While this project is new for the Frigatebirds, scientists think it will work due to their social nature. 

Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. Her work involves distributing and amplifying WLRN's journalism on social media, managing WLRN's social accounts, writing and editing newsletters, and leading audience-listening efforts. Reach out via email at klcohen@wlrnnews.org.
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