The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host their Wood Stork and Wading Bird Viewing Event on July 29 at the South Farm of the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) complex. The event will be from 7-10 a.m.; early arrival is encouraged for the best opportunity to see wood storks.
The event is free of charge, however, those individuals age 18 and older attending the event must have a WMA Access Annual or Five-Day Permit. These licenses are available from LDWF and may be purchased where LDWF hunting and fishing licenses are sold, at the LDWF website at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/hunting-licenses-permits-tags or by phone at 1-888-765-2602.
Wood storks and other wading and shorebirds can be viewed in this area as they are attracted to feed in the South Farm’s water management units. The South Farm includes a number of large moist soil impoundments.
The impoundments are drawn down or dewatered in mid-summer to enhance growth of wetland plants for wintering waterfowl. This drawdown provides mud flats and very shallow water with concentrated prey for birds like shorebirds (sandpipers) and wading birds (egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills, storks, and ibises). Impoundments are flooded in fall and early winter to provide habitat for water birds with emphasis on waterfowl.
The wood stork is the only stork native to North America. These large wading birds (2-4 feet tall with a 66-inch wingspan) are an indicator of the condition of our nation’s wetlands.
This is a great opportunity for bird watchers, photographers and anyone who enjoys wildlife to see quite possibly the largest natural concentration of these birds anywhere. Often alligators, white-tailed deer and many other species of birds may be observed as well.
LDWF and other professionals will be on hand to discuss the management of the area, identification of animals and the wood stork.
To get to the South Farm, take I-10 to the Ramah exit (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 one mile or until you see the South Farm sign, cross over the levee and enter the parking lot. Personnel will be there to provide you with additional information.
For more information call the LDWF Lafayette Region Office at 337-735-8681.