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Breeding Season Begins at the Rookery

Monday, January 08, 2024 4:34 PM | Jean Pichler (Administrator)

Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, and Anhinga are once again claiming territories and building nests at the Venice Audubon Park Rookery.  It's an annual ritual and a welcome sight for Venice residents and visitors alike.  Just as the birds seem to arrive in more numbers daily, so do the visitors to get a close up view of these magnificent species.  

We never really know what to expect during breeding season but generally about 100 nests of various species are counted on the rookery island and in trees and foliage along the perimeter of the pond.  In addition to the species listed previously, Black-crowned Night Heron, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Common Gallinule, and Green Heron are among the wading birds likely to be spotted nesting, roosting, or feeding at the pond.   

There are plenty of other birds to be seen and heard throughout the park grounds, including several species of woodpeckers and warblers, Loggerhead Shrikes, Killdeer, Blue Jays, and of course mockingbirds to  name a few.  In late January we begin to anticipate the return of Purple Martins from their winters in South America.  Volunteers will erect 66 cavity houses to provide nests for these long-distance travelers and soon their aerial flight and vocalizations will be heard throughout the day.

In short, this is a great time to plan your next visit to the Venice rookery.  Every day brings more to see and experience.  Dusk signals the arrival of hundreds of birds as they settle onto island perches for the night.  It's loud.  It's a bit competitive. And it's fun to watch.  The morning fly-out after dawn is awe-inspiring as Great Egrets, White Ibis, and others depart for a day of foraging in local ponds and neighborhoods.

A visit now provides entertaining views of courtship and nest-building  as birds fly in with sticks and nest sites are defended, mating behaviors are flaunted, and pairs meet up.  In the next month to six weeks, nesting activity increases, while early hatchlings will emerge and soon become the center of attention as they grow rapidly into their version of adolescence.  

Come for a visit any day. Venice Audubon Rookery Park is open daily from dawn to dusk.  The views just keep getting better and more entertaining!



Telephone: 941-496-8984

Sarasota County Call Center: 941-861-5000 (General information and directions)


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