It's Rookery Season at the Alligator Farm

rookery season in st. augustine

Many native birds such as herons, egrets, spoonbills, and wood storks are flocking to the Alligator farm to build nests and raise their young from now until June. Hundreds of alligators swimming beneath the trees are great security guards against predators. The boardwalk allows for wonderful close-up views of the birds displaying, building nests, involved in mating rituals, and caring for eggs and then fledglings. This is a great time to see the birds in their glorious breeding plumage. Regularly recorded rookery updates are also available at (904) 824-3337 option 9. The alligators are very active during this time as well. The males vibrating and roaring to attract a mate can be quite awesome to see and feel! At times, when many are displaying their charms, the whole boardwalk will vibrate! You can also see the water vibrating off the alligators.



Photographers from all over Florida and other places come to take photos of all the rookery activity and many are award winners. Visit the Alligator Farm website and check out the beautiful photos that have won previous contests. The application for this year’s contest should be available soon!





Mid-February – The first pair of Great egrets arrive around Valentine’s Day.  More are close behind and begin nest building.  Roseate spoonbills stagger their nests throughout the season, arriving as early as mid-January!

Late February- Great egret pairs continue to arrive, along with some Wood storks. The Greats start to lay eggs. Roseate spoonbills are nest building.

Early March – Great egrets and Wood storks continue to flock in.

Mid-March – Most Great egrets are incubating eggs.  The Wood storks begin to lay.

Late March – Great egrets chicks start hatching out.  Most storks incubating eggs.  A few of the Snowy egrets, Little blue herons, and Tri-colored herons start arriving.  The Snowys waste no time and immediately lay eggs.  Spoonbill chicks possible.

Early April – Wood stork chicks start hatching.   Great egret chicks are starting to get to a good size.  Snowys, Little blues, and Tri-coloreds are laying eggs.  Cattle egrets start showing up.

Mid-April – The Green herons start nesting within the park (not the rookery).  Still lots of displaying birds of every species.  Spoonbill chicks hatching.

Late April – Rookery is mass chaos.  Snowy chicks start hatching. Wood stork chicks are screaming constantly.  Great egret chicks are pretty big.  All of the smaller species have arrived.

Early May – There are chicks of every species in the rookery at this time, but still displaying from all species with the exception of the wood storks.  Green heron chicks hatching out within the park.

Mid-May – The Great egret and stork chicks are giant.  There are chicks of every size from every species.  Many species still continuing to display.

Early June – Nothing has even fledged yet.  The displaying has started winding down but there are still birds on eggs.  Chicks everywhere. Latest observed hatching of spoonbill eggs. Displaying is over.

July – Fledglings are everywhere.  Still a few nests with smaller chicks.

August– Nesting season is complete though a few stragglers remain. The majority of the adults have begun migrating south.


Book a Stay at Ocean Village Club

Stay on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean at the fully equipped vacation rental condos of Ocean Village Club. Minutes from historic St. Augustine and all that the First Coast has to offer. Call Coastal Realty today to book, 904.471.7513!