Aug. 2, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a wood stork and wading bird viewing event on Aug. 12 from 7 a.m.-noon within the South Farm area of the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) complex. The South Farm area is located in Iberville Parish and is accessible via I-10.
There is no entry fee for the event. However, participants are reminded that anyone between the ages of 16-60 is required to have either a valid Louisiana hunting or fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp to visit a LDWF WMA. These can be purchased at any license vendor selling LDWF hunting or fishing licenses, on-line at www.wlf.la.gov
or by phone at 1-888-765-2602.
This event provides an excellent opportunity for bird watchers, photographers and anyone who enjoys wildlife. The South Farm habitat also attracts alligators, white-tailed deer and many other species of birds. Individuals and professionals will be on hand to discuss the management of the area and provide wildlife identification assistance. Participants are advised to arrive early for improved wood stork viewing opportunities.
Wood storks and other wading and shorebirds are readily visible at this time due to the management provided by wildlife division staff. A number of large, moist soil impoundments are flooded in the fall to provide habitat for water birds, especially shorebirds and waterfowl. Aside from seed bearing herbaceous plants, the developed habitat contains an abundance of small fish and crawfish, ideal food sources for wading birds.
The South Farm impoundments are drawn down in mid-summer to enhance the growth of wetland plants for wintering waterfowl. The drawdown period is extended almost a month at times due to the size of the impoundments and the management strategy, which is focused on providing mud flats and very shallow water with concentrated prey for shorebirds (sandpipers and others) and wading birds (egrets, herons, spoonbills, storks and ibis).
The wood stork is the only stork native to North America. These large wading birds, which can grow as tall as four feet with a 66-inch wingspan, are an indicator of the condition of our nation's wetlands. As wetlands disappear, wood stork numbers also diminish. Although many of these birds are from Mexico, the water management units at the South Farm have become critical habitat for the species survival.
To get to South Farm take I-10 to the Ramah Exit (Exit 135). Drive north to the first road on the left, located near the small bait stand/store, then past the store take a right to cross the bridge and turn right on the levee road, which is a gravel road. Drive approximately one mile or until you see the South Farm sign, cross over the levee and enter the parking lot. Event coordinators will be there to provide additional information.
For more information about the South Farm birding event, call the LDWF Wildlife Division Opelousas Field Office at 337-948-0255.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov
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