Log in

Rookery Watch

Venice, Florida’s famous Rookery Park is home to an easily viewed bird rookery that hosts roosting birds year round and nesting birds from late winter through spring. For over 25 years, Venice Area Audubon Society has tracked bird nesting data as part of Audubon Florida’s statewide community science Colony Watch program.  Our local goal for the project is to record and monitor the health and habitat of the Venice Rookery and the birds that nest on the island, and to contribute data to Florida's assessment of rookery sites. 

This has been a long-term endeavor for our organization with rookery watch records dating back to 1997, compiled by Venice Area Audubon volunteers.  Due to its long and successful history, the Audubon Rookery in Venice is a recognized rookery for the state of Florida.

The Venice Rookery island is the nesting site  for at least 6 notable bird species - Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Great Egret, Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, and Black-crowned Night Heron. From November through April, the Venice Area Audubon volunteer rookery watch team collects weekly nest data, counting each species' nests and hatchlings, leading to an annual final breeding season report.  At the end of the breeding season, Venice Area Audubon's rookery watch report is shared with the Florida  Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee (FWC). These data points provide insight into the success of the birds and to the overall health and sustainability of the Rookery island.  

Learn more about the birds seen at the Rookery.

2022-2023 Summary

  • This year’s counts and birds were likely impacted by the Cat 5 Hurricane Ian which occurred on September 28, 2022.

  • The Rookery Island’s vegetation and trees were damaged with approximately 25% of the habitat eliminated

  • The impact of Hurricane Ian likely delayed the birds' arrival, which occurred at the Venice Rookery a month later than the previous year

  • In 2022-2023 the number of young hatchling birds (Y) were counted in addition to the number of nests

  • Overall the total active nest counts were down this year in comparison to the total active nest counts of 2021-2022, perhaps due to the delay in nesting and/or to the reduction of the island habitat

  • New and exciting for 2022-2023, nesting sites were recorded in the trees surrounding the Rookery Island, including Great Blue Herons and Double-Crested Cormorants, perhaps due to the buffer around the Rookery pond and new native plants and trees installed by VAAS volunteers



Telephone: 941-496-8984

Sarasota County Call Center: 941-861-5000 (General information and directions)


Copyright 2023 Venice Area Audubon Society

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software