South Farm Wood Stork and wading bird event
Public invited for free viewing Aug. 12
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to invite the public to a Wood Stork & Wading Bird free event Saturday, Aug. 12, at the South Farm of the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area Complex.
The South Farm includes a number of large moist soil impoundments. These are flooded in the fall to provide habitat for water birds with emphasis on waterfowl. Wood Storks and other wading and shore birds can be viewed in this area as they are drawn to feed in the South Farm’s water management units.
The impoundments are drained in the mid-summer to enhance growth of wetland plants for the following year. This provides mud flats and very shallow water with concentrated prey for birds like shorebirds (sandpipers) and wading birds (egrets, herons, spoonbills, storks, and ibises).
The Wood Stork is the only stork native to North America. These large wading birds (2 to 4 feet tall with a 66 inch wingspan) are an indicator of condition of our nation’s wetlands. As wetlands disappear so do the Wood Storks. Even though many of these birds are from Mexico, water management units such as the South Farm are becoming more critical to the survival of these birds.
With only a few thousand of these birds remaining, this is a great opportunity for bird watchers, photographers and anyone who enjoys wildlife to see quite possibly the largest concentration of these birds anywhere. Often alligators, Whitetail deer and many other species of birds may be observed as well. Individuals and professionals will be on hand to discuss the management of the area, identification of animals, and to discuss the Wood Stork.
The event will begin at 7 a.m. and will last until noon. It is better to arrive early for greatest opportunity to see the Wood Storks.
Driving directions to the South Farm are: take I-10 to the Ramah, Exit 135. Go north take the first road to the left, turn right by the market on Mimms Street, cross the bridge and turn right on the lower Atchafalaya Levee road. Note this is a gravel road. Go approximately 1.5 miles or until you see the “South Farm” sign cross over the levee and enter the parking lot. Individuals will be there to provide you with additional information.
There are no fees associated with this program but due to the fact the event is on a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Wildlife Management Area, all participants between the ages of 16 and 60 are required to have either a valid Louisiana Hunting or Fishing License or a Wild Louisiana Stamp. These licenses are available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and may be obtained at a point of sale retailer, over the internet at: http://www.wlf.la.gov or by phone at 1-888-765-2602.
For more information please call the Park Ranger Joseph Ogden at 337-585-0853.