St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

spoonbills

This famous wading bird rookery provides a great day out for birders, photographers, tourists and families. Thanks to the resident alligators, wading birds like Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Wood Storks and Tricolored Herons have long nested above the gator ponds. Why? Because the giant reptiles provide the birds with protection from raiders like raccoons, who would eat the eggs and chicks in their nests. Boardwalks wind through the rookery, giving great up-close looks at the adult birds, their nests and their prehistoric looking chicks! The birds are very habituated to people on the boardwalks and as a result disturbance is not an issue. Bring your camera! While some birds are almost always nesting at this site, the best time to enjoy the rookery is between April and July. Small numbers of Roseate Spoonbills, Little Blue Herons and Cattle Egrets also nest at the farm and Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-Herons roost in the swamp during the winter. Early bird member passes are available, providing access to the site before the general public are allowed in at 9am – perfect for photography and nature study. Call ahead for details.

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