MELBOURNE, Fla. - Each day this week, a state wildlife officer has checked on an experiment unfolding at NASA Boulevard and Evans Road in Melbourne.
So far, the results are negative.
Over the weekend, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers moved two sandhill crane eggs, and the nest they were snuggled in, from beside the road there. In sight of the adult cranes, an officer carried the eggs to the other side of a retention pond, said Brandon Basino, a spokesman for the research institute at FWC. The pond is on the southeast corner of the intersection.
The hoped the adults would follow. As of Thursday, they had not, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
FWC officials said moving a nest had not been done before, but was necessary in this situation.
The male bird, after his hen laid the eggs, became aggressive and was darting into traffic and pecking at cars passing by.
Basino said the exotic species section leader at FWC made the decision to move the eggs.
"It was made for health and human safety concerns, putting that first, as well as property damage concerns," he said. "We just got a lot of complaints and they felt like they had to act in this situation."
And so each day since the relocation, an FWC officer has checked the nest.
"The officers have not seen the adults return to the nest, yet," Basino said.
Passerby have reported to Florida Today that the birds, which settled into the area nearly two weeks ago, have rarely seen the birds since the nest was moved Saturday.
If the birds do not return to the nest, it will be deemed abandoned, Basino said, and will be barricaded so the cranes cannot nest there again. He said there is no set time before a nest is considered abandoned; that depends on what officers find while checking the area.
He did not say how long the eggs could survive without care from the hen.
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