Bird-caused fecal bacteria present at Tigertail Beach on Marco Island

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Photo by WINK News.

Scientists found an unsafe level of fecal bacteria in the water on Marco island. Experts say it’s caused by the increased bird population.

Swim advisory signs were posted at Tigertail Beach warning swimmers of high levels of fecal bacteria in the water Thursday.

“Oh doesn’t sound good at all,” Lara Wospeka said. “Would not be happy at all to swim in the water.”

We usually think of bird poop on our car windshields, not polluting the water we swim in.

“It is gross just knowing that that is in there,” Wospeka said.

The Florida Department of Health said the tidal lagoon on at Tigertail is a hot spot for bird mating and mingling. Wildlife-heavy recreational usage and high tides can cause bacteria levels to increase.

“I think it’s concerning,” Janice Lozier said. “Does it mean we’re encroaching on this system that supposed to be for the birds?”

The state DOH said this occurs infrequently, so it is not alarming the department.

Regardless, its swimming advisory maintains swimmers should stay out of the area if they have open cuts or wounds. Don’t drink or ingest the water, and rinse off with fresh water when getting out.

“We need to be a lot more aware of where we’re going and what’s out there,” Lisa Holliday said.

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