This refuge on this tiny mangrove island in the Indian River Lagoon
is an important rookery for brown pelicans and more than 30 other
birds. It was designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 as
the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge. The island is
accessible only by private boat or chartered tours. Nesting birds
are easily disturbed, so visitors must not approach too closely or
If you visit during nesting season (late November through late
July), expect to see brown pelicans, wood storks, white ibises,
black-crowned night herons, double-crested cormorants, reddish,
snowy and great egrets and great blue, little blue and tricolored
herons. In the winter, watch for lesser scaup, blue-winged teal,
mottled ducks, common loons, laughing gulls, white pelicans and
red-breasted mergansers. Summer visitors may spot roseate
spoonbills, magnificent frigatebirds and least terns. Sea turtles,
dolphins and manatees are just some of the many marine animals that
feed in the Indian River.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The refuge is located near Sebastian. Contact the Merritt Island
National Wildlife Refuge for visitor information.
Central Florida Wildlife Sites