Share the Backcountry

Backcountry Heron

Herons, egrets, pelicans, frigatebirds, white-crowned pigeons, and other birds make the backcountry mangrove islands their home. All backcountry islands are important to nesting, roosting, and feeding birds.

Scaring birds off their nests exposes their eggs and babies to predators and intense rays from the sun. And, like people, birds need undisturbed rest to stay healthy.
When you are enjoying the Backcountry, please consider our feathered friends during your journey. Your actions can make a difference in their survival.


 5 Simple Tips to Protect Refuge Birds


1) Avoid boating too close to mangrove islands. Keep your distance to avoid disturbing nesting and roosting birds. A good rule of thumb is stay at least 300 feet away. If you want a closer look, use binoculars or telephoto lens.

2) Please do not disturb. Even people in non-motorized vessels can disturb birds. If you see birds getting ready to fly or flying off in a flock, you are too close. Repeated disturbances are very harmful to their health.

3) Know your signs and buoys.
Please follow directions on signs and informational buoys. Buoys designate no motor areas, speed zones, and closed areas that help protect birds.

4) Pack it in, pack it out.
Dispose of your trash properly, especially fishing line that can ensnare birds, leading to their injury or death.

5) Report injured Birds.
Please report injured birds to the refuge, Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), or local wildlife rehabilitation center.

For more information, please contact the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges at (305) 872-0774 or keydeer@fws.gov or FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline (888) 404-3922