Annually, the Refuge conducts a survey of nesting birds on Snake Key. Refuge staff, Friends, and other volunteers count specific birds for 3-5 days. Protocol is to start counting 90 minutes after sunrise, and count for two hours. Species counted include spoonbill, great blue heron, tricolored heron, little blue heron, black crowned night heron, snowy egret, great egret, reddish egret, white ibis, cormorant, and brown pelican. Other species of interest such as eagle, osprey and frigatebird are noted as well.
An interesting fact is that some species, such as ibis, fly considerable distances to fresh water (including the Lower Suwannee Refuge) to harvest food for their young, who are unable to digest food from saltwater.
For the 2022 survey, one volunteer reported counting over 1,100 ibis flying into the island and over 550 flying out.
Refuge staff are preparing a report that will be posted here.
Photos taken by Ann Kamzelski.
The Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates is a national nonprofit that supports all of the 250 Friends groups nationwide. It has a Facebook group where Friends can share ideas and issues. There is a monthly photo competition. April's competition theme was "refuge babies." We submitted a photo by our former deputy manager Larry Woodward
The photo with the most "likes" during the month wins the competition. April's winner was announced today and is below. Aren't these mama and baby photos wonderful!
The April Photo Contest winner was a photo by Les Heiserman of a Canada Goose and six goslings. Les captured the amazing image at the D.C Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota. Nancy Cole, Booth Society Friends Gift Shop Manager and Assistant Director submitted this winning photo. The pair of geese have been nesting on the island for at least the last 9 years. Visitors to the Hatchery eagerly await their arrival. Established in 1896, D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, formerly Spearfish National Fish Hatchery, is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country dedicated to fish culture and resource management.