Wading Bird Supercolonies

The 2018 wading bird nesting season in Everglades National Park was very exciting! An enormous number of wading birds nested in the Everglades this year, including numbers of White Ibis nesting pairs in Everglades National Park not seen since the 1940s. As of May 2018, the young of these nesting pairs had fledged, or learned to fly and left the nest. All signs are leading towards this year’s wading bird season being a success!

Very large White Ibis breeding groups like the ones that formed this year are called supercolonies. Supercolonies in Everglades National Park occurred more frequently before humans drained and re-directed the water. One of the goals of Everglades Restoration is to increase water flow into the Everglades because this will allow the ecosystem to return to more historic conditions. One way Everglades scientists measure restoration progress is by monitoring wading bird colonies during their nesting season.

Although this year’s outstanding wading bird season is great news for the Everglades, long term trends are important when considering Everglades Restoration success. This year’s supercolony formation in Everglades National Park does show that the Everglades ecosystem is resilient. Animals such as wading birds can recover if the right water and environmental conditions, including favorable weather, are present.

For more information on Everglades birds, you can visit: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/birds.htm
White Ibises preening
White Ibises preening.

Artistic rendering by Rowan Johnson

Last updated: September 10, 2018

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