Bird Island Critical Wildlife Area
This is such a special place, a gem in the Indian River Lagoon, and it’s right in our local waters.
Bird Island, also known as Spoil Island MC-2, is a 1.6 acre island located East of Sewells Point. The former spoil island now serves as one of Florida's top 10 nesting sites for brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, wood storks, blue herons, many ibis, roseate spoonbills, American oystercatcher and other federally and state listed endangered wading bird species.
The Indian River National Estuary Program calls it “one of the most important bird nesting colonies in South Florida” and considers its protection “critical to the recovery of wading bird species”.
Erosion to the island and human activity have been the biggest problems to Bird Island. In 2011, the county placed rocks along the north side of the island to prevent or retard the erosion problems. In the last 30 years, 30% of the island has been lost due to erosion from waves generated by boat wakes and storms. The planting of mangroves and grasses did not help to retain the shoreline. To date, this new breakwater seems to be working. People walking on the island or fishing in the nearby waters, flush the birds, leaving the eggs and young exposed to predators.
The waters surrounding this spoil island are now closed to public access. This 8 acre buffer protects nesting and roosting birds from disturbance. In 2012, roseate spoonbills nested here for the first time in Martin County.