I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist the offer than I could restrainmy first rambling designs when my
father’s good counsel was lost upon me. In a word, I told them I would go with all my heart, if
they would undertake to
look after my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I
should direct, if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and entered into writings or covenants
to do so; and I made a
formal will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death, making the captain of the ship that had
saved my life, as before, my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my
effects as I had directed in my will; one half of the produce being to himself, and the other to be shipped
In short, I took all
possible caution to preserve my effects and to keep up my plantation. Had
I used half as much prudence to have looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I ought to have done
and not to have done, I had certainly never gone away from so
prosperous an undertaking, leaving
all the probable views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea, attended with all its
common hazards, to say
of the reasons I had to expect particular misfortunes to myself.
Text:Daniel Defoe,The Life and Strange Surprizing
Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty
Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the
Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck,
wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as
strangely deliver'd by Pyrates(1719)
The Snail Kite has one of the most specialized tools among
raptors: a long, deeply curved
beak designed to pull snails—the birds'
main food—out of their shells.
This specialized diet restricts the Snail Kite to wetlands, so if that habitat is destroyed, the bird declines.
When hunting, Snail Kites fly low over marshlands, plunging
down to snatch snails from
just under the water or from vegetation. They then return to a favorite perch to feed. Although common in Latin America, the species is a federal and state endangered species in the United States.
Snail Kites are gregarious and may congregate in flocks at roost sites (as this recording from Brazil
demonstrates) or while foraging for food. The birds also nest in colonies in low trees and bushes,
usually over water. This species is markedly dimorphic: males are a dark blue-gray with striking red
legs and females are streaked brown and white, with a white eyebrow line.
The U.S. population of Snail Kites dropped
precipitously from 3,000 in the late 1990s to approximately 700 today. Water
management in the Everglades and
in the central and south Florida lakes is the most important human-controlled factor affecting the survival and recovery of the
species in the U.S.
In addition, the small
Florida population is threatened by
pesticides and nutrient run-off. Invasive plants such as melaleuca make it difficult for the
kites to forage.