This refuge on this tiny mangrove island in the Indian River Lagoon is an important rookery for brown pelicans and more than 30 other birds. It was designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 as the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge. The island is accessible only by private boat or chartered tours. Nesting birds are easily disturbed, so visitors must not approach too closely or disembark.
If you visit during nesting season (late November through late July), expect to see brown pelicans, wood storks, white ibises, black-crowned night herons, double-crested cormorants, reddish, snowy and great egrets and great blue, little blue and tricolored herons. In the winter, watch for lesser scaup, blue-winged teal, mottled ducks, common loons, laughing gulls, white pelicans and red-breasted mergansers. Summer visitors may spot roseate spoonbills, magnificent frigatebirds and least terns. Sea turtles, dolphins and manatees are just some of the many marine animals that feed in the Indian River.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The refuge is located near Sebastian. Contact the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for visitor information.
Other East Central Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks