Wading Bird Colony Location, Size, and Timing in Lake Okeechobee

Principal Investigator

This project monitors the nest density and reproductive success of wading birds on Lake Okeechobee in southeastern Florida as part of the ecosystem-wide monitoring being conducted through the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP). This project is designed to enhance monitoring of populations of breeding wading birds in the south Florida ecosystem.

Wading birds are a dominant predator in the Greater Everglades region and represent a large part of the vertebrate biomass; breeding population responses are considered to be integrative and reflective of many aspects of the wetland habitat. Success and productivity of breeding is also predicted to improve when CERP is implemented, especially for species that are sensitive to hydrologic changes, such as the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) and Snowy Egret (Egretta thula). 


Overall objectives are to:

  1. Conduct annual monitoring of size, location, and species composition of nesting aggregations by long-legged wading birds in Lake Okeechobee.
  2. Provide annual quantitative measures of nest success and productivity for nesting long-legged wading birds in Lake Okeechobee.
  3. Use standardized methods to integrate monitoring results from other MAP wading bird nest monitoring projects in the South Florida ecosystem.


The project period spans from January 2021 through September 2024.