Cattle egret

Cattle egret (not yet dead).
A line of lifeless egrets stretches for miles, and experts think they know what sent them all flying into cars. One expert thinks a fire about 15 minutes away could be to blame.

Dozens of dead birds were littered along the side of I-75 in Lee County Monday after flocks of cattle egrets flew into cars on the highway.

"The past few months we've questioned everything," Eddie Torres said. "You know, as far as possibly even moving out of the state because, you know, what are we doing to better the state? What are we doing to help control everything?"

Red tide and blue-green algae are causing an unprecedented amount of death this year. Naturally, people were concerned about these dead cattle egrets spotted for miles along I-75 between Fort Myers and Naples.


"I would probably immediately think of the green algae that's been going on around and all of the red tide and seeing if they've been eating fish or breathing in the toxic air," Jenna Cosme said.

WINK News spoke to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"The FWC has a place on our website to report bird die offs [and a place to] fill out a form and then it goes to our lab in Gainesville, and they'll process it," Brian Norris of FWC said.

FWC is looking into it now, but WINK News also received further explanation from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife research facility on Sanibel Island.

Brian Bohlman said there was a controlled burn off of Daniels Parkway today not far from where we told him the birds were.

"And one of the things that they actually do is they will actually fly toward smoke and brush fires to eat all of the bugs and stuff that get stirred up by the fires," Bohlman said.

That is one explanation. The other explanation: These birds are fearless.

Bohlman said CROW treats numerous cattle egrets a year for just walking into the middle of traffic.

FWC said someone else called in to report the birds earlier, today.

FGCU said they may send experts out here Tuesday to see for themselves.

One thing neighbors and officials agree on though, the amount of dead birds is still very strange.

"That's different," Cosme said. "Like I've never really seen that in Fort Myers."