Water Levels Bottom Out Despite April Rain

See monthly graphs from April 2023 and May Wood Stork flight results.

graph showing rainfall
Rainfall in Water Year 2023 through April.

We recorded 4.5 inches of rainfall at the Sanctuary in April 2023, which is almost twice the monthly average for April. 

water level graph
Water levels through April 2023 (red line) compared with the average range of water levels since 2000.

The water level remained below 0 even after four inches of rain fell on the Sanctuary. It is still extremely dry. 

On May 3 we conducted the sixth Wood Stork survey flight of the 2023 nesting season. This season, we observed nesting at three colony sites in Southwest Florida, with Wood Storks fledging from the Corkscrew colony by early April. Wood Stork nesting continues at two sites: BC-29 (west of SR-29, north of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge), and Lenore Island (Caloosahatchee River west of I-75).

White birds in treetops.
Wood Stork chicks at Lenore Island in the Caloosahatchee River. (05/03/2023). Photo: Jacob Zetzer/Audubon

Chicks typically fledge eight weeks after hatching and must fledge before the onset of the rainy season to be successful. Wood Stork numbers were lower this month than last month at the two remaining colonies, a sign that storks have begun to fledge and leave the colonies. The final monitoring flight of the nesting season will be conducted in early June.

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