Wood Stork Nesting Update: May 2024

No wading bird nesting activity was observed at the historic Corkscrew rookery in 2024.

The sixth Wood Stork survey flight of the 2024 nesting season was conducted on May 7, 2024. Lenore Island in the Caloosahatchee River and BC-29 (west of SR-29, north of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge) exhibited the only Wood Stork nesting activity out of the three colony sites in SWFL that have been active in recent years.

No wading bird nesting activity has been observed at the historic Corkscrew colony this season. High water levels from an unusually rainy dry season (courtesy of El Niño) caused Wood Storks to initiate nesting much later than usual (February-March instead of December). As a result, more Wood Stork chicks ranging from 2-4 weeks were observed during May’s flight than were observed during April’s flight. Other chicks observed appeared to be six weeks old and will likely fledge within the next two weeks. Chicks typically fledge eight weeks after hatching and must fledge before the onset of the rainy season to be successful. A large number of nests were observed with adults still incubating eggs; these nests are highly unlikely to be successful this late in the season.

Water levels continue to fall with hot and dry late spring weather conditions, further concentrating aquatic prey that can be used to feed growing chicks. We expect that in the coming month the onset of rainy season weather patterns or a significant rain event will ultimately signal the end of nesting season.

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