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1. Breakfast and Birds is Saturday

Friends of Tigertail will host their 18th “Breakfast and Birds” program from 9 until 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 18 at Tigertail Beach.

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Bring your own breakfast and meet other interested birders to learn how to identify the beautiful wading birds and shorebirds that forage in the Tigertail lagoon during the winter. Binoculars are recommended.

Birding ID cards will be available with a donation. Friends of Tigertail memberships are available and are tax deductible, benefiting the group’s scholarship program.

This is a free program. Parking is free with a Collier County Beach parking sticker. No reservations necessary.

2. Rare early emergence of influenza B virus puts children at higher risk

As an infectious disease specialist for the better part of four decades, Bernhard “Bud’’ Wiedermann has deep expertise on a range of illnesses, from malaria to Lyme disease to recurrent fevers.

This year’s flu season has thrown him a curveball, though it is thankfully one he can adjust to: A predominant influenza B virus for the first time in 27 years.

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When outbreaks of the flu began earlier than usual in the fall, Wiedermann and his colleagues at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., noticed a leading cause was a virus that doesn’t typically emerge until the end of the season and is more likely to affect kids.

“All of us here when we started seeing that coming through, not only from the CDC data but from our own testing, we were like, ‘Wow, what’s going on? This is very strange,’’’ Wiedermann said.

Nationwide, the CDC said flu activity is high and will remain that way for weeks, although the level of severity appears lesser than in the past. For the season, the agency has tallied at least 9.7 million cases of the flu, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths.

3. Marco in Bloom Florida is back

The contest   is promoted by the Beautification Advisory Committee to recognize property owners for creating beautiful front yard landscapes keeping the tropical character and beauty of the Island while strengthening its natural resiliency.

This year the properties recognized fall in the following categories: residential single family homes located in open roads and gated communities, personally and professionally landscaped; residences located on Collier Boulevard and Barfield Drive; cul-de-sacs, non-residential commercial property (Zoned C1-C5) and condominiums and government properties, including schools and houses of worship.

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Criteria to select the winners include the use of native plants, color and contrast, creativity, water wise plants, and view from the street. Minimal use of grass is encouraged in order to conserve water, a precious and diminishing commodity on the Island.

Marco residents and visitors are encouraged to take a few pictures of the front yards of the properties that they feel should be recognized and describe in a few sentences why they support their nomination. 

The nominating forms can be downloaded at www.cityofmarcoisland.com or picked up at Mackle Park. 

The deadline to nominate properties for the contest is March 16.

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