Once 200,000 birds nested in the Cedar Keys; now, the numbers near 20,000. Egrets, night herons, brown pelicans, white ibis, cormorants, and in the past few years, reddish egrets and roseate spoonbills have made themselves at home in the Seahorse Key rookery. Parent birds must fly thirty plus miles up the Suwannee or to alternative freshwater sources to gather food for their young that is not salty, in order not to dehydrate the young.
To protect the nesting birds and their young, the island's beaches and a 100 yard perimeter are closed to public entry from March 1 through the month of June. After the young have left the nest, the Cedar Keys Refuge staff hosts a FREE open house on Seahorse Key, opening its light house the first Saturday after July 4th. Call 352/493-0238 for more information.