- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

CEDAR KEY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Fla. (AP) - Florida wildlife officials are calling on boaters and pet owners to keep their distance from migratory birds roosting at Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge and other coastal areas.

Dozens of bird species like the American oystercatcher, flock to Cedar Key and other coastal areas during the cold winter months to roost.

Roosting is key to the migrating birds’ survival — it allows them time to replenish energy and digest food. Wildlife officials say disturbance to their roosting affects the number of birds that survive the winter.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said boaters and others should stay at least 300 feet away from roosting birds, and should not anchor near them. It is also important to keep pets on a leash and away from the birds.

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