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Group Title: Trends in wading bird nesting population in florida
Title: Trends in wading bird nesting population in florida : 1976-1978 and 1986-1989
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Title: Trends in wading bird nesting population in florida : 1976-1978 and 1986-1989
Series Title: Trends in wading bird nesting population in florida
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Runde, Douglas E.
Publisher: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Fla.
Publication Date: October, 1991
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
    Title Page
        Front page 3
    Front Matter
        Front page 4
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
    List of Tables
        Page iii
    List of Figures
        Page iv
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        Page vii
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    Main
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Full Text



C











TRENDS IN WADING BIRD NESTING

POPULATIONS IN FLORIDA

1976 1978

AND

1986 1989


FINAL PERFORMANCE REPORT








Douglas E. Runde, Ph.D.

October 1991







Nongame Wildlife Section
Division of Wildlife
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee. Florida 32399-1600


QL
696
.C5
R861
1991










rin, PERFORMANCE REPORT

Nongame Wildlife Section


QT-



7-ti


Survey and Monitoring

Colonial Wading Bird Survey (7612)


Period Covered:

Principal
Co-investigators:


March 1987 June 1991


D. E. Runde, Nongame Survey & Monitoring Coordinator
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Route 7, Box 3055, Quincy, FL 32351

J. A. Gore, Regional Nongame Biologist
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
6938 Highway 2321, Panama City, FL 32409

J. A. Hovis, Regional Nongame Biologist
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
1239 SW 10th Street, Ocala, FL 32674

B. A. Millsap, Nongame Section Supervisor
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
620 S. Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

T. E. O'Meara, Statewide Programs Coordinator
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
620 S. Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

R. B. Renken, Regional Nongame Biologist
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
3900 Drane Field Road, Lakeland, FL 33811

M. S. Robson, Regional Nongame Biologist
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
551 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33415

P. D. Southall, Regional Nongame Biologist
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
Route 7, Box 440, Lake City, FL 32055


Prepared By:


Project:


Study:


SCIENcr
1TPR RR


D. E. Runde











Abstract.--Ten years after the first comprehensive aerial survey of Florida's
nesting populations of colonial nesting wading birds (Ciconiiformes and
Pelecaniformes) we began to resurvey the state to determine current locations
of nesting colonies and trends in population sizes and distribution. Detailed
information on colony locations and species composition resulting from this
work are available in Runde et al. (1991). This report summarizes and compares
these data with results of the surveys conducted in 1976 through 1978 as
reported in the first atlas of breeding sites by Nesbitt et al. (1982).

By comparing distribution of colonial wading birds in the 1970s and in the
recent surveys, we evaluate the Commission's first objective (Florida Game and
Fresh Water Fish Commission 1988) for this group of birds, "To maintain the
county distribution of colonial wading bird (waders) as described in ...
(Nesbitt et al. 1982)." The following species apparently no longer nest in at
least 1 peninsular county where they formerly occurred: brown pelican
(Pelecanus occidentalis), double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus),
anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), snowy egret
(Egretta thula), tricolored heron (E. tricolor), glossy ibis (Plegadis
falcinellus), white ibis (Eudocimus albus,-reseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja),
and woodoptork (McLeria americana). However, with the exception of the brown
pelifan, each of these 10 species were found nesting in counties where they
were not previously known to occur. Great egrets (Casmerodius albus), little
blue herons (E. caerulea), cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis), and reddish egrets
(E. rufescens) still occur in all counties where they were found nesting in the
1970s' surveys. Also, with the exception of the reddish egret, 3 of these 4
birds now nest in counties not documented by these previous surveys. Much new
information was gathered on locations of colonies in the Panhandle (west of the
Ochlockonee River), which was thoroughly surveyed for the first time during the
present survey.

Florida's wading bird populations have fragmented to such a degree that large
breeding colonies are today quite scarce, and small colonies are abundant.
This pattern is especially clear in south Florida. The available data on
abundance suggest that this has been accompanied by an overall decline in
numbers of most species. Particularly alarming, and calling for further
documentation and study, are indications of dramatic declines in populations
of white ibis, snowy egrets, tricolored herons, -and_ wod&_storks. Our data
provide evidence for a northward shift in distribution for 3 species: double-
crested cormorants, little blue herons, and cattle egrets.

Using information on colony history, numbers of species present, the
biological vulnerability of these species, and approximate numbers of birds,
a numerical scoring system was used to objectively rank colonies in terms of
their relative importance.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


LIST OF TABLES ...............

LIST OF FIGURES ..............

LIST OF APPENDICES ...........

INTRODUCTION .................
Acknowledgements ............

METHODS ......................

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION .......

Distribution of Colonial


Wading Birds .........

Brown pelican ........
Double-crested
cormorant ...........
Anhinga ..............
Great blue heron .....
Great egret ..........
Snowy egret ..........
Little blue heron ....
Tricolored heron .....
Reddish egret ........
Cattle egret .........
White ibis ...........
Glossy ibis ..........
Roseate spoonbill ....
Wood stork ...........
Changes in county
distribution of
nesting wading birds


9
...... 5

...... 9


Population Estimates and
Trends ......................


Brown pelican ..........
Double-crested
cormorant .............
Anhinga ................
Great blue heron .......
Great egret ............
Snowy egret ...........
Little blue heron ......
Tricolored heron .......
Reddish egret ..........
Cattle egret ...........
White ibis .............
Glossy ibis ............
Roseate spoonbill ......
Wood stork .............
Changes in colony
size and latitudinal
distribution ..........

RECOMMENDATIONS

Future Monitoring Plans


Colony Rankings .............

Establishing Distribution and
Population Objectives ......

LITERATURE CITED .............

APPENDICES ...................


Numbers of Species Detected
per Colony .................

Frequency of occurrence
of species in breeding
colonies ..................


.... 73











LIST OF TABLES


Table 1. Numbers of breeding colony
sites located for 14 species of
colonial nesting waterbirds in Flor-
ida, 1986-89 ................... 4

Table 2. Summary of methods used
during surveys of wading bird colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89
............................... 4

Table 3a. County distribution of
selected colonial waterbirds in
Florida, as determined by aerial and
ground surveys in 1976-78 and
1986-89 ('+' present during nest-
ing season; '-' presence not con-
firmed) ........................ 18

Table 3b. County distribution of
selected colonial waterbirds in
Florida, as determined by aerial and
ground surveys in 1976-78 and
1986-89 ('+' = present during nest-
ing season; '-' = presence not con-
firmed) ........................ 25

Table 4. Apparent changes in county
distribution of selected colonial
nesting waterbirds between 1976-78
and 1986-89 .................... 35


Table 5. Statewide frequency dis-
tribution (n[%]) of size class esti-
mates of abundance for wading birds
in nesting colonies in Florida,
1986-1989 ....................... 46

Table 6. Statewide population esti-
mates (minimum; maximum) for the
period 1986 to 1989 (See text for
calculation method as numbers may
not be strictly comparable and are
of limited accuracy and precision)
................................. 4 8

Table 7. Numbers of colonies and
survey methods used in comparisons
of populations of wading birds in
Florida, east of the Ochlockonee
River, 1976-1978 and 1986-89 .... 49

Table 8. Population estimates for
peninsular Florida, east of the
Ochlockonee River, 1976-78 (Nesbitt
et al. 1982) and 1986-89 (this
study). See text for calculation
methods as numbers may not be
strictly comparable ............. 50












LIST OF FIGURES


Figure 1. Locations of breeding
colonies where brown pelicans were
detected in Florida, 1986-89 ... 6

Figure 2. Locations of breeding
colonies where double-crested cormo-
rants were detected in Florida,
1986-89 ........................ 6

Figure 3. Locations of breeding
colonies where anhingas were detect-
ed in Florida, 1986-89 ......... 6

Figure 4. Locations of breeding
colonies where great blue herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


Figure 5
colonies
detected

Figure 6
colonies
detected


Locations of breeding
where great egrets were
in Florida, 1986-89 ... 7

Locations of breeding
where snowy egrets were
in Florida, 1986-89 ... 7


Figure 7. Locations of breeding
colonies where little blue herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Figure 8. Locations of breeding
colonies where tricolored herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Figure 9. Locations of breeding
colonies where reddish egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89 ... 8

Figure 10. Locations of breeding
colonies where cattle egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89 ... 8

Figure 11. Locations of breeding
colonies where white ibises were
detected in Florida, 1986-89 ... 8

Figure 12. Locations of breeding
colonies where glossy ibises were


detected in Florida, 1986-89 .... 8

Figure 13. Locations of breeding
colonies where roseate spoonbills
were detected in Florida, 1986-89
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


Figure 14. Locations of
colonies where wood storks
tected in Florida, 1986-89


breeding
were de-
. 9


Figure 15. Locations of Florida
counties ........................ 10

Figure 16. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding brown pelicans
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3b.) ............. 11

Figure 17. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding double-crested
cormorants in Florida, 1976-78 to
1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)
...... ... .... ... ... ... ... ... .. .. 11

Figure 18. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding anhingas in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3b.) ............. 12

Figure 19. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding great blue
herons in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-
89. (For data see Table 3a.) .... 12

Figure 20. Changes in county dis-
tribution of great egrets in Flori-
da, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data
see Table 3a.)................... 13

Figure 21. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding snowy egrets
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3a.) ............ 13

Figure 22. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding little blue
herons in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-
89. (For data see Table 3a) ..... 14











Figure 23. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding tricolored
herons in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-
89. (For data see Table 3a.) ... 14

Figure 24. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding reddish egrets
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3a.) ............ 15

Figure 25. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding cattle egrets
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3a.) ............ 15

Figure 26. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding white ibises
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89.
(For data see Table 3b.)........ 16

Figure 27. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding glossy ibises
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89.
(For data see Table 3b.)........ 16

Figure 28. Changes in county distri-
bution of breeding roseate spoon-
bills in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-
89. (For data see Table 3b.) ... 17

Figure 29. Changes in county dis-
tribution of breeding wood storks in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For
data see Table 3b.) ............ 17

Figure 30. Numbers (A) and relative
proportions (B) of species detected
in wading bird colonies in Florida,
1976-78 and 1986-89 ............ 42

Figure 31. Numbers (A) and relative
proportions (B) of species detected
in historic wading bird colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 ... 43

Figure 32. Numbers (A) and relative
proportions (B) of colonies in which
each of 14 species were detected in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (See
Appendix A for key to species abbre-
viations.)....................... 44


Figure 33. Distribution of size
classes for brown pelican colonies
in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.
(For data see Appendix I.)....... 51

Figure 34. Distribution of size
classes for double-crested cormorant
colonies in Florida, 1976-78 and
1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)
. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . 5 1

Figure 35. Distribution of size
classes for anhinga colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.)............ 52

Figure 36. Distribution of size
classes for great blue heron colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Appendix I.) .. 52

Figure 37. Distribution of size
classes for great egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (For
data see Appendix I.)............ 53

Figure 38. Distribution of size
classes for snowy egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.) ........... 53

Figure 39. Distribution of size
classes for little blue heron colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Appendix I.) .. 54

Figure 40. Distribution of size
classes for tricolored heron colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Appendix I.) .. 54

Figure 41. Distribution of size
classes for reddish egret colonies
in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (For
data see Appendix I.) ........... 55

Figure 42. Distribution of size
classes for cattle egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.) ........... 55











Figure 43. Distribution of size
classes for white ibis colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.)........... 56

Figure 44. Distribution of size
classes for glossy ibis colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.) .......... 56

Figure 45. Distribution of size
classes for roseate spoonbill colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Appendix I.).. 57

Figure 46. Distribution of size
classes for wood stork colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix I.) .......... 57

Figure 47. Distribution of colony
size class for three species of
Pelecaniformes in Florida 1986-89.
(For data see Appendix E.) ..... 58

Figure 48. Distribution of colony
size class for 3 species of egrets
in Florida, 1986-89. (For data see
Appendix E.) ................... 58

Figure 49. Distribution of colony
size class for three species of her-
ons in Florida 1986-89. (For data
see Appendix E.)................ 59

Figure 50. Distribution of colony
size class for white ibises and wood
storks, Florida 1976-78 and 1986-89.
(For data see Appendix E.) ..... 59

Figure 51. Estimated population
size (maximum nos. of individuals
present in breeding colonies) of
snowy and great egrets, tricolored
herons, and double-crested cormo-
rants in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Table 8.) .... 61

Figure 52. Estimated population
size (maximum nos. of individuals
present in breeding colonies) of
little blue herons, wood storks,


great blue herons, anhingas, roseate
spoonbills and reddish egrets in
Florida, 1986-89. (For data see
Table 8.)........................ 61

Figure 53. Estimated population size
(maximum nos. of individuals present
in breeding colonies) of cattle
egrets and white ibis in Florida,
1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see
Table 8.) ....................... 64

Figure 54. Numbers (A) and relative
proportions (B) of colonies in each
of 4 size categories in Florida,
1976-78 and 1986-89 ............. 67

Figure 55. Proportions of historic
colonies surveyed in 1976-78 and
1986-89 in each of 4 size categories
in Florida ...................... 68

Figure 56. Latitudinal distribution
of wading bird colonies in Florida,
1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see
Appendix B.) .................... 69

Figure 57. Latitudinal variation in
numbers of double-crested cormorant
colonies in Florida, 1976-78 and
1986-89. (For data see Appendix D.)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Figure 58. Latitudinal variation in
numbers of little blue heron colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-
89. (For data see Appendix D.) .. 71

Figure 59. Latitudinal variation in
numbers of cattle egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For
data see Appendix D.) ........... 72

Figure 60. Distribution of colony
size class for all species in 1976-
78 and 1986-89 by latitude. (For
data see Appendix C.) ........... 74

Figure 61. Locations of top 100
ranked wading bird colonies in
Florida, 1986-89. (For data see
Appendix G.)...................... 77











LIST OF APPENDIXES


Appendix A. Key to species abbrevi-
ations and abundance codes ...... 80

Appendix B Latitudinal variation
in numbers (%) of colonies, all siz-
es, east of the Ochlockonee River in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 .... 80


Appendix
classes
east of
Florida,


C. Distribution of size
of colonies by latitude,
the Ochlockonee River in
1976-78 and 1986-89 .... 81


Appendix D. Number of colonies (%)
by degree of latitude for wading
birds in peninsular Florida, east of
Ochlockonee River, 1976-78 and 1986-
89 (includes colonies where a spe-
cies was recorded as present but no
estimate of abundance was
recorded) ....................... 82

Appendix E. Frequency (%) distribu-
tion of size classes for 11 selected
species of wading birds in peninsu-
lar Florida, east of Ochlockonee
River, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (colonies
where a species was recorded as
present but no estimate of abundance
was recorded are omitted here)... 83


Appendix F. Variables and scores
used to rank wading bird colonies in
Florida, 1986-89 ................ 84

Appendix G. Locations of top 100
ranked wading bird colonies in Flor-
ida, 1986-89 .................... 85

Appendix H. Scores and locations of
top 20 ranked wading bird colonies
in each GFC Region in Florida,
1986-89 ................. ....... 87

Appendix I. Number of colonies (%)
in combined size classes for wading
birds in peninsular Florida, east of
Ochlockonee River, 1976-78 and 1986-
89 (excludes colonies where a spe-
cies was recorded as present but no
estimate of abundance was recorded).
.................. ... .......... 89

Appendix J. Uncited references rele-
vant to wading bird populations in
Florida ........................ 90














INTRODUCTION

The herons, egrets, ibises, spoon-
bills, and storks that reside in
Florida's wetlands are a well known
and conspicuous part of our wildlife
resource. Although statewide numbers
of wading birds have never been
accurately measured, size of the
total population is known to have
fluctuated greatly, and today's num-
bers are only a shadow of their size
in previous decades.
The Strategic Plan for Florida's
wildlife and freshwater fish (Flor-
ida Game and Fresh Water Fish Com-
mission 1988:50) for birds identi-
fies 2 specific objectives for
Florida's populations of long-legged
wading birds (waders). The first is
"To maintain the county distribution
of colonial wading birds as de-
scribed in 'Florida Atlas of Breed-
ing Sites for Herons and Their Al-
lies: 1976-78' (Nesbitt et al. 1982)
through 1992-93." The second objec-
tive for wading birds is "To develop
and implement a monitoring program
(i.e., index) to establish popula-
tion and distribution objectives for
colonial wading birds by 1992-93."
Towards these ends, a systematic
statewide inventory of wader colo-
nies was designed and implemented in
1987-89 by Nongame Wildlife Section
staff (Section) of the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission's
(Commission) Division of Wildlife,
with much assistance from the Divi-
sion of Law Enforcement. Detailed
summaries of colony locations, spe-
cies composition, and abundance are
presented elsewhere (Runde et al.,
1991). Data from this survey and
from a previous survey (as published
in Nesbitt et al. 1982) are also
available in computerized dBase
format from the Section's Data Man-
agement Coordinator. Here, we pres-
ent results and an overview of data
from these 2 surveys.


Acknowledgements.--As with any ef-
fort of this magnitude, we owe a
debt of gratitude to many people who
contributed colony location informa-
tion, assisted with the actual sur-
veys, and helped us understand and
appreciate the difficulties and bi-
ases inherent in large-scale surveys
for wading bird colonies. R. T.
Engstrom retrieved colony data from
the Colonial Bird Registry. G. T.
Bancroft, R. Bjork, G. V. N. Powell,
and R. Paul of the National Audubon
Society, provided additional data
from southwest Florida for 1982
through 1984, and from Florida Bay
and Tampa Bay for 1987 to 1989. M.
Maffei provided data collected by
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
on the Loxahatchee National Wildlife
Refuge (i.e., Water Conservation
Area 1).
Data from 1986 and 1987 for colo-
nies in Everglades National Park and
Water Conservation Area 3 were sum-
marized from Frederick and Collopy
(1988). Their work was funded by the
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
through the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service Cooperative Research Unit at
the University of Florida. The staff
of the South Florida Water Manage-
ment District also supplied informa-
tion on colonies in and around Lake
Okeechobee.
N. B. Peterson, Florida Department
of Natural Resources, contributed
data from the Indian River. D. R.
Breininger, Bionetics Corporation,
contributed 1989 data from Merritt
Island. N. Edelson assisted with
surveys in Polk County, and W. W.
Baker flew with us in the Panhandle.
Data from wood stork rookeries (1986
through 1988) in southwest Florida
were contributed by A. F. Answini
(Kutztown Univ., pers. commun.).
We owe much to the efforts of other
Commission personnel including J. W.
Ault, J. A. Feiertag, R. G. Gooch,
P.I. Kalla, T. P. King, T. E. Mill-
er, C. M. Orme, G. A. Owen, R. B.












Renken, G. E. Reynolds, J. A.
Rodgers, and W. 0. Sermons. S. A.
Nesbitt supplied most of the data
from brown pelican colonies around..
the state. Commission pilots L. H.
Ham, R. Potts, J. B. Spangler, J. D.
Truitt, K. M. Vislocky, J. Weaver,
D. L. Welsh, and J. R. Wisniewski
safely and effectively piloted the
survey flights and were the first to
spot many colonies. Their skills
were crucial to the success of this
survey.
Field assistants in 1988 and 1989
included E. Carter, K. M. Enge, J.
Humphrey, K. J. McGowan, A. Nielson,
and C. D. (Rick) Sullivan. E. D.
Johnson and D. McNair assisted with
mapping, data entry, and data man-
agement, and S. Conley-Samford typed
several editions of the text and
tables.
Funding for this survey was from
the Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund.

METHODS

Between 1957 and 1959, the National
and Florida Audubon societies, with
the cooperation of the Commission,
surveyed all known colonies of wood
storks and other wading birds in
Florida. In 1975 and 1976, the Of-
fice of Biological Services, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service),
sponsored an inventory of Atlantic
Coast heronries, including the east
coast of Florida. This was the first
of a 3-year census conducted cooper-
atively by the National and Florida
Audubon societies (NAS and FAS) and
the Commission. Data from 1976 to
1978 were published by the Service
(Nesbitt et al. 1982). For the pres-
ent survey, our primary goals were
to accurately locate colonies, com-
pile complete lists of species pres-
ent, and determine the current sta-
tus of historic nesting colonies.
This information was then used to
evaluate objective 1 (above) and to
address objective 2 from the


Commission's Strategic Plan.
Based on experience gained from
preliminary surveys in 1987, a sys-
tematic statewide survey plan was
designed. We plotted 183 east-west
transects, spaced 5 km (3.1 mile)
apart, onto 1:150,000 scale color
maps of the state (DeLorme Publish-
ing Company 1986). Latitude-longi-
tude coordinates were recorded for
coastal endpoints and several inland
midpoints of each transect so that
latitude lines could be followed
using LORAN-C radio navigation. In
addition, 476 previously identified
colony sites were plotted on the
aerial survey maps using latitude-
longitude coordinates. These loca-
tions included 345 sites listed in
Nesbitt et al. (1982) and 137 addi-
tional sites from the files of the
NAS (1976 to 1982 data) and Colonial
Bird Register (1976 to 1985 data).
We conducted most aerial surveys
using the Commission's Division of
Law Enforcement aircraft and pilots
in 1987-89. Private aircraft were
used to a limited degree, primarily
in southwest Florida. When possible,
2 additional observers were used to
search both sides of the plane. With
the exception of heavily forested
areas (e.g., floodplain and cypress
forests) this transect spacing and
flight altitude provided complete
visual coverage of the state.
Transects were flown from March
through early July; over 30,000 km
were covered in approximately 480 hr
of flight time from 1987 through
1989 (excluding transit time).
Flight altitude was usually 244 m
but ranged up to 305 m in areas of
heavy tree cover. Transect spacing
was halved and many lines were flown
twice in Collier and Hendry counties
because of the combination of heavy
cover, high density of historic
colonies, and dry conditions early
in the spring. Dry conditions might
have delayed the formation of colo-
nies and a second survey ensured











that we did not miss any late-form-
ing colonies. This transect spacing
(2.5 km or 1.55 miles) coincided
closely with colony survey methods
being used by other researchers in
south Florida. We did not systemati-
cally cover Everglades National Park
or the Water Conservation Areas
which were surveyed by teams from
the NAS and the University of Flori-
da in 1986 and 1987 (Frederick and
Collopy 1988). Other sources of
data used here (with the exception
of Edelson and Collopy [1990]) are
credited in Runde et al. (in press).
Aerial transects provided a system-
atic basis for this inventory, but
we often left these transects to
search for historic colony sites
(many of which were unoccupied dur-
ing our surveys due to the extended
drought conditions during the
1980s). We did not attempt to use
these transects to collect data
suitable for density estimation.
When active colonies were located,
we circled at low altitude (61 m)
to estimate size and species compo-
sition, to describe and map the
site, and to record LORAN-C coordi-
nates.
Information from fixed-wing aerial
surveys was supplemented by ground
counts and by visits made at a dis-
tance from helicopters. To minimize
disruption, we followed the methods
of Kushlan (1979) for helicopter
censuses of wading bird colonies.
Guidelines for selecting colonies
for ground censuses and for minimiz-
ing disturbance during such visits
are included in Runde (1987); also
included is a summary of information
on nesting phenology of wading birds
in Florida; copies of published
descriptions of nests, eggs, and
nestlings; and McVaugh's (1972 and
1975) information on ageing nest-
lings. Training of observers includ-
ed a training session using project-
ed slides of colonies and white
beans to gain experience estimating


numbers.
There are several differences in
methods used in previous surveys
(Nesbitt et al. 1982) and the recent
survey. Where appropriate, these are
discussed below as they affect con-
clusions regarding changes in wading
bird populations inferred from com-
paring results of the different sur-
veys.
Colony locations were plotted on a
series of special-edition county
highway maps produced by the Florida
Department of Transportation which
will be published as "Florida Atlas
of Breeding Sites for Herons and
their Allies: Update 1986-89", along
with colony location information,
history, size, and species composi-
tion (Runde et al. 1991).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Commission database files now in-
clude nearly 1,000 breeding locali-
ties for >14 species (Table 1) from
65 of Florida's 67 counties. This
includes 696 colony sites which sup-
ported active breeding colonies at
least once during the years 1986-89,
and an additional 257 historic colo-
ny sites not known to have supported
breeding colonies during this peri-
od.
Comparing the first large-scale
surveys for wading bird colonies
done in the mid-1970s with those
completed in 1989 provides a chance
to examine changes in county distri-
bution and to evaluate the first
strategic plan objective for wading
birds (see above). We can also eval-
uate other apparent changes in wad-
ing bird populations and distribu-
tions since the 1970s, including
changes in numbers of species de-
tected per colony, frequency of
occurrence of certain species in
breeding colonies, gross changes in
population sizes, and changes in
latitudinal distribution of colonies
in peninsular Florida.












Certain differences in objectives
and resulting survey design and
field methods (see Table 2, and
Erwin et al. 1984) may confound the.

Table 1. Numbers of breeding colony
sites located for 14 species of
colonial nesting waterbirds in Flor-
ida, 1986-89.

Species No. colonies


Brown pelican 64
Double-crested
cormorant 110
Anhinga 208
Great blue herona 331
Great egret 422
Snowy egret 130
Little blue heron 266
Tricolored heron 141
Reddish egret 11
Cattle egret 281
White ibis 106
Glossy ibis 22
Roseate spoonbill 11b
Wood stork 52
Total Colonies
(any species) 696


aIncludes "great white heron."
bFor our purposes numerous (16-20)
small colonies in Florida Bay were
combined into 5 regional nesting
areas (R. Bjork, NAS, pers. commun.)


comparisons made below. These dif-
ferences must be understood from the
beginning and kept in mind when
interpreting the data. In spite of
these problems, these 2 data sets
from the 1976-78 and 1986-89 surveys
are the best data available for
inferring recent changes in wading
bird populations on a statewide
scale. For a critical review of the
data published by Nesbitt et al.
(1982), see Kushlan (1985).
First, the surveys in the 1970s


were not a systematic search of the
state, and no surveys were conducted
west of the Ochlockonee River. Major
wetlands and known areas of wading
bird nesting were searched for colo-
nies; most (53%) colonies were relo-
cated and surveyed in each of 3 yr
(1976-78), but few (14%) were visit-
ed on the ground and none from heli-
copter (Table 2).

Table 2. Summary of methods used
during surveys of wading bird colo-
nies in Florida, 1976-78a and 1986-
89.

Number of
Survey Colonies Number of
method visited visits
(%)b (%)0


Fixed-wing aircraft
1976-78 332(96) 1156(94)
1986-89 521(75) 967(63)
Rotor-wing aircraft
1976-78 none none
1986-89 262(38) 272(18)
Ground
1976-78 50(15) 76(06)
1986-89 228(33) 304(20)


aSummarized from Nesbitt et al.
(1982).
bPercent of total no. of colonies
visited (will not total 100% as many
colonies visited >1 time).
cPercent of total visits to colo-
nies.
dIncludes visits from boat, vehi-
cles, and on foot.


The results of our pilot survey in
1987 indicated that major shifts in
colony locations had occurred (i.e.,
many colonies located in the 1970s
had moved or were no longer active).
Thus, we treated the entire state as
potential nesting habitat and sys-
tematically surveyed the entire












state including, for the first time,
the entire panhandle of Florida. To
achieve this extensive coverage,
many (42%) colonies were visited
only once, and few (6%) were visited
every year. Instead, we surveyed
many hundreds of square miles of
land overlooked in the 1970s, with
the goal of achieving a total inven-
tory of wading bird colonies in the
state. We did, however, visit many
colonies on the ground (228) or from
helicopter (262) in order to obtain
complete lists of species present
(Table 2). Thus we might expect data
from the 1970s and 1980s to differ
based on field methods alone.
Numerous different observers were
involved in each of the 2 surveys,
and no single observer participated
in both. Thus, the precision of our
numerical estimates is unknown and
inconsistent. In acknowledgement of
this, we lumped estimates of
species' numbers into large size
classes and combined these into a
single estimate of colony size.
Erwin (1982 and 1985) and Erwin et
al. (1984) discussed some of the
factors affecting observer variabil-
ity in estimating numbers and other
factors that influence the results,
and thus comparability, of waterbird
inventories. Other factors that
limit the accuracy of aerial census-
es are: (1) in tree and shrub colo-
nies, only the upper "layer" of
nesting birds is visible; (2) some
species hide below the canopy (e.g.,
little blue heron) and are difficult
to count; (3) background color makes
some species easier to see; and (4)
larger birds are more visible than
smaller birds (King 1978). These
types of measurement error are pres-
ent in both sets of data and are not
separable from the natural varia-
tions in numbers and inherent sam-
pling error discussed below. This
limits the applicability of statis-
tical comparisons and analyses and
confines us to drawing tentative and


often qualitative conclusions.
Because of differences in nesting
chronology both among species and
'within species across the state, as
well as the extremely protracted
nesting season, there is no single
"best time" to conduct surveys for
colonial nesting waterbirds in Flor-
ida (King 1978, Burger 1978). These
differences affect numbers of indi-
viduals and species present at the
colony during any single visit. For
instance, great blue herons may
reach peak numbers in a colony many
weeks before cattle egrets begin
nesting. Our objectives and the
scale of our surveys precluded tim-
ing multiple visits to colonies to
account for such changes. This natu-
ral variation in numbers of birds
over time (i.e., sampling error) is
completely separate from, and ad-
ditional to, any biases introduced
by differing observers and other
sources of measurement error.
Colony surveys were conducted dur-
ing similar periods in the 1970s and
1980s; but most data from the
present survey were collected earli-
er in the year. During the 1970s
most (96%) visits to colonies took
place from April through August; the
remaining 4% of surveys were prior
to April. Most (89%) surveys in the
1980s were conducted April through
July; 11% were conducted prior to
April. In the 1970s, 26% of all
visits took place in July or August.
In the 1980s, we stopped surveying
earlier; only 1% of all colony vis-
its were recorded in July and none
in August. These minor differences
in timing of the surveys may affect
some comparisons as the present data
are likely biased against late-nest-
ing species, such as cattle egrets.

Distribution of Colonial Wading
Birds
The recent distribution of each of
14 species of wading birds is shown
in Figures 1 through 14. Each square































Figure 1. Locations of breeding
colonies where brown pelicans were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 3. Locations of breeding
colonies where anhingas were detect-
ed in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 2. Locations of breeding
colonies where double-crested cormo-
rants were detected in Florida,
1986-89.


Figure 4. Locations of breeding
colonies where great blue herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89.


BROWN PELICAN


DOUBLE-CRESTED

CORMORANT


ANHINGA


GREAT BLUE HERON
















GREAT EGRET


SNOWY EGRET


Figure 5. Locations of breeding
colonies where great egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 7. Locations of breeding
colonies where little blue herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 6. Locations of breeding
colonies where snowy egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 8. Locations of breeding
colonies where tricolored herons
were detected in Florida, 1986-89.


TRICOLORED HERON















REDDISH EGRET


Figure 9. Locations of breeding
colonies where reddish egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 11. Locations of breeding
colonies where white ibises were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 10. Locations of breeding
colonies where cattle egrets were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


Figure 12. Locations of breeding
colonies where glossy ibises were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


WHITE IBIS































Figure 13. Locations of breeding
colonies where roseate spoonbills
were detected in Florida, 1986-89.


represents a single colony where the
species was detected. By comparing
the county distribution (see Fig.
15) of wading birds as determined by
the 1976-78 surveys and in the 1980s
we can evaluate the Commission's
first Strategic Plan objective for
this group of species. The mid-1970s
surveys did not include the panhan-
dle counties west of the Ochlockonee
River which were surveyed in 1987-
89. Thus, we have gained much valu-
able information from those coun-
ties. But the results are not
strictly applicable to evaluating
the strategic plan objective because
occurrence of wading bird species in
these counties was not documented in
previous surveys. Thus, the follow-
ing discussion only considers work
done both in the 1970s (Nesbitt et
al. 1982) and in the 1980s in penin-
sular Florida, east of the
Ochlockonee River (Figs. 16 through
29; Table 3a,b).
Brown pelican.--Breeding distribu-
tion of this species has been very
well documented in the past, the
only addition to the county distri-
bution of brown pelicans as recorded


WOOD STORK


Figure 14. Locations of breeding
colonies where wood storks were
detected in Florida, 1986-89.


in Nesbitt et al. (1982) is Bay
County (Fig. 16). This colony first
formed in 1982. We failed to detect
brown pelicans nesting in Dade and
St. Lucie counties where they oc-
curred in the mid-1970s, and this
change is confirmed by other Commis-
sion surveys. The Ft. Pierce (St.
Lucie County) colony disappeared in
1984 concurrent with increases in
colonies in Brevard County. Dade
County only supported <30 scattered
nesting pairs in the 1970s (S.
Nesbitt, unpubl. data). For more
detailed discussions of population
expansion and changes of distribu-
tion for this species, see Nesbitt
(1989).
Double-crested cormorant.--Double-
crested cormorants appear to have
expanded their distribution to in-
clude many inland counties. Compared
with the 1970s, they now nest in 6
additional counties: Alachua, Co-
lumbia, Glades, Hardee, Marion, and
Pasco. However, we failed to detect
cormorants in St. Johns, Collier,
and Manatee counties where they were
recorded in the mid-1970s (Fig. 17).



























Ecombi


Figure 15. Locations of Florida counties.


Pinellos




Sarosota


St. Lucie


Mon.ro































Figure 16. Changes in county distribution of breeding brown pelicans in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
I PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89

SNO CHANGE DETECTED

Figure 17. Changes in county distribution of breeding double-crested
cormorants in Florida, 1976-78 to 1987-89. (For data see Table 3b.)































Figure 18. Changes in county distribution of breeding anhingas in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1987-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


Figure 19. Changes in county distribution of breeding great blue herons
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


ANHINGA
W PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

SNOT DETECTED 1976-78. PRESENT 1986-89

INO CHANGE DETECTED


GREAT BLUE HERON
W PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

m NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89


m NO CHANGE DETECTED


































Figure 20. Changes in county distribution of breeding great egrets in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


SNOWY EGRET
PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89

NO CHANGE DETECTED


Figure 21. Changes in county distribution of breeding snowy egrets in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)





























Figure 22. Changes in county distribution of breeding little blue
herons in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


Figure 23. Changes in county distribution of breeding tricolored herons
in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


LITTLE BLUE HERON
W PRESENT 1976-78. NOT DETECTED 1986-89

m NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89

SNO CHANGE DETECTED


TRICOLORED HERON
W PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

m NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89


SNO CHANGE DETECTED
































Figure 24. Changes in county distribution of breeding reddish egrets in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


Figure 25. Changes in county distribution of breeding cattle egrets in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3a.)


REDDISH EGRET
F PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

NOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89

NO CHANGE DETECTED





























Figure 26. Changes in county distribution of breeding white ibises in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


Figure 27. Changes in county distribution of breeding glossy ibises in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


WHITE IBIS
W PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

SNOT DETECTED 1976-78. PRESENT 1986-89

NO CHANGE DETECTED


GLOSSY IBIS
0 PRESENT 1976-78. NOT DETECTED 1986-89

m NOT DETECTED 1976-78. PRESENT 1986-89


m NO CHANGE DETECTED

































Figure 28. Changes in county distribution of breeding roseate spoon-
bills in Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


Figure 29. Changes in county distribution of breeding wood storks in
Florida, 1976-78 to 1986-89. (For data see Table 3b.)


ROSEATE SPOONBILL
W PRESENT 1976-78, NOT DETECTED 1986-89

SNOT DETECTED 1976-78, PRESENT 1986-89

SNO CHANGE DETECTED










18

Table 3a. County distribution of selected colonial waterbirds in Florida,
as determined by aerial and ground surveys in 1976-78 and 1986-89 ('+' -
present during nesting season; '-' presence not confirmed).

Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


Alachua
1976-78
1986-89

Baker
1976-78
1986-89

Bay'
1976-78
1986-89

Bradford
1976-78
1986-89

Brevard
1976-78
1986-89

Broward
1976-78
1986-89

Calhouna
1976-78
1986-89

Charlotte
1976-78
1986-89

Citrus
1976-78
1986-89

Clay
1976-78
1986-89












Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


Collier
1976-78
1986-89

Columbia
1976-78
1986-89

Dade
1976-78
1986-89

DeSoto
1976-78
1986-89

Dixie
1976-78
1986-89

Duval
1976-78
1986-89

Escambia'
1976-78
1986-89

Flagler
1976-78
1986-89

Franklin
1976-78
1986-89

Gadsdena
1976-78
1986-89

Gilchrist
1976-78
1986-89


+ +








20

Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret- egret heron heron heron


Glades
1976-78
1986-89

Gulf*
1976-78
1986-89

Hamilton
1976-78
1986-89

Hardee
1976-78
1986-89

Hendry
1976-78
1986-89

Hernando
1976-78
1986-89

Highlands
1976-78
1986-89


Hillsborough
1976-78
1986-89

Holmesa
1976-78
1986-89

Indian River
1976-78
1986-89

Jacksona
1976-78
1986-89


+ +











Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


Jefferson
1976-78
1986-89

Lafayette
1976-78
1986-89

Lake
1976-78
1986-89

Lee
1976-78
1986-89

Leon
1976-78
1986-89

Levy
1976-78
1986-89

Liberty'
1976-78
1986-89

Madison
1976-78
1986-89

Manatee
1976-78
1986-89

Marion
1976-78
1986-89

Martin
1976-78
1986-89


+ +
+ +


-------












Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


Monroe
1976-78
1986-89

Nassau
1976-78
1986-89

Okaloosaa
1976-78
1986-89

Okeechobee
1976-78
1986-89

Orange
1976-78
1986-89

Osceola
1976-78
1986-89

Palm Beach
1976-78
1986-89

Pasco
1976-78
1986-89

Pinellas
1976-78
1986-89

Polk
1976-78
1986-89

Putnam
1976-78
1986-89


4-
+












Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


St. Johns
1976-78
1986-89

St. Lucie
1976-78
1986-89

Santa Rosa'
1976-78
1986-89

Sarasota
1976-78
1986-89

Seminole
1976-78
1986-89

Sumter
1976-78
1986-89

Suwannee
1976-78
1986-89

Taylor
1976-78
1986-89

Union
1976-78
1986-89

Volusia
1976-78
1986-89

Wakulla
1976-78
1986-89










24

Table 3a. Continued.


Great Little Tri-
Great Snowy Cattle Reddish blue blue colored
egret egret egret egret heron heron heron


Waltona
1976-78
1986-89 + + + + +

Washington"
1976-78
1986-89 + -+ + +


a These Panhandle counties were not surveyed in 1976-78.











Table 3b. County distribution of selected colonial waterbirds in
as determined by aerial and ground surveys in 1976-78 and 1986-89
present during nesting season; '-' = presence not confirmed).


Florida,
('+' -


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Alachua
1976-78
1986-89

Baker
1976-78
1986-89

Baya
1976-78
1986-89

Bradford
1976-78
1986-89

Brevard
1976-78
1986-89

Broward
1976-78
1986-89

Calhouna
1976-78
1986-89

Charlotte
1976-78
1986-89


Citrus
1976-78
1986-89

Clay
1976-78
1986-89












Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Collier
1976-78
1986-89

Columbia
1976-78
1986-89

Dade
1976-78
1986-89

DeSoto
1976-78
1986-89

Dixie
1976-78
1986-89

Duval
1976-78
1986-89

Escambiaa
1976-78
1986-89

Flagler
1976-78
1986-89

Franklina
1976-78
1986-89

Gadsdena
1976-78
1986-89

Gilchrist
1976-78
1986-89


--












Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Glades
1976-78
1986-89

Gulf'
1976-78
1986-89

Hamilton
1976-78
1986-89

Hardee
1976-78
1986-89

Hendry
1976-78
1986-89

Hernando
1976-78
1986-89

Highlands
1976-78
1986-89


Hillsborough
1976-78
1986-89

Holmes'
1976-78
1986-89

Indian River
1976-78
1986-89

Jacksona
1976-78
1986-89









28

Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Jefferson
1976-78
1986-89

Lafayette
1976-78
1986-89

Lake
1976-78
1986-89

Lee
1976-78
1986-89

Leon
1976-78
1986-89

Levy
1976-78
1986-89

Liberty'
1976-78
1986-89

Madison
1976-78
1986-89

Manatee
1976-78
1986-89

Marion
1976-78
1986-89

Martin
1976-78
1986-89


+ --+


- -












Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Monroe
1976-78
1986-89

Nassau
1976-78
1986-89

Okaloosaa
1976-78
1986-89

Okeechobee
1976-78
1986-89


Orange
1976-78
1986-89

Osceola
1976-78
1986-89


Palm Beach
1976-78
1986-89

Pasco
1976-78
1986-89

Pinellas
1976-78
1986-89

Polk
1976-78
1986-89

Putnam
1976-78
1986-89












Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


St. Johns
1976-78
1986-89

St. Lucie
1976-78
1986-89

Santa Rosaa
1976-78
1986-89


Sarasota
1976-78
1986-89

Seminole
1976-78
1986-89

Sumter
1976-78
1986-89

Suwannee
1976-78
1986-89

Taylor
1976-78
1986-89

Union
1976-78
1986-89

Volusia
1976-78
1986-89

Wakulla
1976-78
1986-89


--------











Table 3b. Continued.


Roseate Double-
Wood Glossy White spoon- Brown crested
stork ibis ibis 'bill Anhinga pelican cormorant


Walton'
1976-78 -
1986-89 + +

Washingtona
1976-78 -
1986-89 + +


a These Panhandle counties were not surveyed in 1976-78.











Anhinga.--We have learned much
about the county distribution of
anhingas and have added 13 counties
in peninsular Florida to their br-
eeding distribution as recorded in
Nesbitt et al. (1982). These coun-
ties are: Baker, Charlotte, Colum-
bia, Glades, Hardee, Hernando, High-
lands, Lafayette, Leon, Manatee,
Martin, Pasco, and Suwannee. Con-
versely, anhingas were recorded
nesting in Gilchrist and Hendry
counties in the mid-1970s, but we
failed to detect them in our surveys
(Fig. 18).
Great blue heron.--We added 9
counties in peninsular Florida to
the distribution of great blue her-
ons as recorded in Nesbitt et al.
(1982). These counties are: Baker,
Columbia, Hamilton, Nassau, Osceola,
Pasco, Putnam, Seminole, and
Suwannee. Conversely, we did not
detect nesting great blue herons in
5 counties where they were recorded
as nesting in the mid-1970s. These
counties are: Flagler, Gilchrist,
Jefferson, St. Johns, and Taylor
(Fig. 19). Great blue herons often
nest in small colonies that are
easily overlooked and also have high
rates of turnover (B. Black and M.
Collopy, Univ. Florida, pers. com-
mun.). Thus, great blue heron colo-
nies are both hard to detect and
dynamic in nature, and these changes
in county distribution are likely of
little consequence.
Great egret.--The great egret has
apparently expanded its range into
the 5 following counties: Baker,
Clay, Columbia, Hendry, and Nassau.
We noticed no reductions in the
county distribution of great egrets
when we compared the information in
Nesbitt et al. (1982) and the more
recent data collected in the 1980s
(Fig. 20).
Snowy egret.--We have learned much
about snowy egret distribution in
peninsular Florida and have added 9
new counties to the known distribu-


tion. They are: Columbia, Dixie,
Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Jefferson,
Marion, Nassau, and Sumter. Con-
versely, we did not detect nesting
snowy egrets in 4 counties where
they were recorded in the mid-1970s.
These counties are: Highlands,
Okeechobee, Orange, and Osceola
(Fig. 21). During aerial surveys,
snowy egrets are difficult to dis-
tinguish from other small white
species (i.e., cattle egrets, imma-
ture little blue herons, and white
ibis), and further surveys, either
from the ground or from helicopter,
of colonies in these counties are
needed to confirm their apparent
absence.
Little blue heron.--Following our
recent surveys, we now have a more
complete view of the county distri-
bution of little blue herons (Fig.
22). We have added the following 9
peninsular counties to the distribu-
tion as noted in Nesbitt et al.
(1982): Baker, Bradford, Clay, Co-
lumbia, Glades, Lafayette, Marion,
Nassau, and Taylor. In addition we
detected little blue herons in each
of the counties where their occur-
rence was documented in the 1970s.
Although secure in terms of its
county distribution, our abundance
data are incomplete and further work
is needed to accurately determine
the population status of little blue
herons.
Tricolored heron.--Several addi-
tions were made to the county dis-
tribution of tricolored herons,
including the following 6 counties:
Glades, Jefferson, Madison, Marion,
Pinellas, and Sumter (Fig. 23).
Tricolored herons were not detected
in 3 counties where they occurred in
the 1970s. These counties are: Levy,
Wakulla, and St. Johns. As is true
of snowy egrets and little blue
herons, further survey work is need-
ed to more accurately determine the
population status of this small dark
heron.












Reddish egret.--Changes in the
county distribution of reddish
egrets between the 1970s and the
1980s (Fig. 24) are limited to the
addition of Pinellas, Sarasota and
Volusia counties. Our knowledge of
their breeding distribution may yet
be incomplete. Frequent and wide-
spread sightings of small numbers of
reddish egrets along the north and
west Gulf coast suggest that we may
have overlooked small colonies of
dark morph reddish egrets in the
often heavy cover along this coast.
Furthermore, light morph individuals
are difficult to correctly identify
from the air, as they are easily
confused with other white herons.
Cattle egret.--Cattle egret dis-
tribution in peninsular Florida has
apparently expanded since the mid-
1970s and now includes 6 additional
counties: Baker, Bradford, Clay,
Columbia, Monroe, and Putnam (Fig.
25). This apparent range expansion
may in part be due to the fact that
the recent surveys included system-
atic searches of upland agricultural
habitats not surveyed in the 1970s.
These uplands support large numbers
of cattle egrets which nest in
lakes, ponds, and marshes, but pro-
vide habitat for few of the wetland-
dependent wading birds. Thus, some
colonies of cattle egrets may have
been overlooked in the 1970s and the
county distribution as described in
Nesbitt et al. (1982) may be incom-
plete. Cattle egrets still nest in
every county identified during the
1970s' surveys.
White ibis.--The county distribu-
tion of white ibis has changed dra-
matically. This bird has apparently
expanded its range to include 7
additional counties in peninsular
Florida. These counties are: Citrus,
Columbia, Glades, Lafayette, Marion,
Putnam, and Sarasota. Conversely, we
failed to detect white ibis in 4
counties where they occurred in the
mid-1970s: Hendry, Highlands, Jef-


ferson, and Martin (Fig. 26). Biases
similar to those discussed for the
snowy egret may be at work, but
white ibis are known to be relative-
ly nomadic (Ogden 1978, P. Freder-
ick, Univ. of Florida, pers. com-
mun.), and changes in breeding dis-
tribution alone give little cause
for concern. Our figures on abun-
dance are incomplete but suggest
dramatic declines. Further work is
needed to accurately determine the
population status of white ibis in
Florida, taking into account the re-
cently discovered colonies in the
Panhandle.
Glossy ibis.--County distribution
of the glossy ibis also appears to
have changed since the mid-1970s.
Glossy ibis were detected in 5 addi-
tional counties where they are not
recorded in Nesbitt et al. (1982):
Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Martin,
and Sumter. Conversely, we did not
detect glossy ibis nesting in the
following 6 counties where they were
detected in the mid-1970s: Char-
lotte, Citrus, Collier, Dade, High-
lands, and Okeechobee (Fig. 27).
Because of small size and dark col-
or, the glossy ibis is difficult to
detect from airplanes and is easily
confused with little blue and
tricolored herons. Thus, further
surveys either from the ground or
from helicopters in these latter 6
counties are needed to confirm this
apparent change in distribution and
to improve our information on popu-
lation status.
Roseate spoonbill.--The county
distribution of the roseate spoon-
bill has changed in recent years
(Fig. 28). Smith and Breininger
(1988) recently documented the re-
establishment of spoonbills as
breeding birds in Brevard County for
the first time this century. The
report of nesting spoonbills in this
county published in Nesbitt et al.
(1982) is apparently a typographic
error (Smith and Breininger 1988).











We failed to detect roseate spoon-
bills breeding in Dade County where
they have nested in the past.
Wood stork.--As with glossy and
white ibis, the distribution of the
wood stork has changed dramatically
since the surveys in the 1970s (Fig.
29) and now includes 9 counties in
peninsular Florida where they were
not recorded during the mid-1970s.
These counties are: Baker, Columbia,
Lafayette, Lee, Levy, Nassau, Or-
ange, Palm Beach, and Sarasota.
Conversely, we did not detect wood
storks in Indian River, Lake, or
Volusia counties where they were
known to nest in the 1970s. These
large white storks are not easily
missed on aerial surveys, and we
believe that surveys during both
periods accurately depict their
distribution.
Changes in county distribution of
nesting wading birds.--The following
species have apparently suffered
reductions in their county distribu-
tion and further survey work may be
justified. The snowy egret was not
recorded in 4 counties where they
occurred in the 1970s, but was re-
corded in 9 additional counties in
peninsular Florida. Similarly, the
tricolored heron was not recorded in
3 counties where they occurred in
the mid-1970s, but now are known to
occur in 6 additional counties.
Glossy ibises seem to have disap-
peared from 6 counties and expanded
into 5 additional peninsular coun-
ties. Distribution of the white ibis
has also changed, apparently disap-
pearing from 4 counties and expand-
ing into 7 additional counties.
Similarly, wood storks abandoned 3
counties and colonized 9 new coun-
ties. With the exception of wood
storks, each of these species have
visibility and identification biases
associated with their detectability.
Further surveys are required in
order to confirm their disappearance
from the counties where we failed to


record them in the present survey.
These results (Table 4) suggest
some cause for concern for apparent
loss of species in Dade, Highlands,
and St. Johns counties. Each of
these counties apparently lost 3
species, including state-listed
species. The following counties have
apparently lost 2 species of wading
birds: Collier, Gilchrist, Hendry,
and Okeechobee. If further surveys
of the wading bird colonies in these
counties confirm these losses, then
management plans for restoring these
species to their former distribu-
tions should be considered.

Numbers of Species Detected per
Colony

The frequency distribution of spe-
cies richness changed greatly be-
tween the 1970s and 1980s. In cases
of multiple visits, we used the
maximum number of species detected
during the 2 time periods. The most
recent surveys yielded a large in-
crease in numbers of colonies with
<9 species. Because of the large
disparity in sample sizes, it is
most meaningful to look for trends
in terms of proportionate changes
(Fig. 30). Inspection clearly shows
an increase in single species colo-
nies. This was due in part to the
systematic approach taken in the
1980s' surveys. We covered the en-
tire state and were more likely to
encounter small single species colo-
nies (e.g., great blue herons) and
colonies in upland settings (e.g.,
cattle egrets). In spite of this
difference, we could detect no sta-
tistically significant difference
between the proportions of colonies
in the different categories of spe-
cies richness (i.e., 1, 2, 3, ... 15
species) in the 1970s' and 1980s'
surveys (X2 = 4.729, 8 df, P =
0.786).











Table 4. Apparent changes
nesting waterbirds between


in county distribution of selected colonial
1976-78 and 1986-89.


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species

Alachua Oa 0


Great egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron
Wood stork
Anhinga

Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Brown pelican

Cattle egret
Little blue heron


White ibis
Anhinga
Great egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron


Anhinga


White ibis

Great egret
Cattle egret
Little blue heron


Glossy ibis

Glossy ibis


Glossy ibis
Double-crested
cormorant


Baker


Bradford


Brevard

Broward

Calhounb


Charlotte


Citrus


Collier












Table 4. Continued


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species


Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron
Wood stork
White ibis
Anhinga
Double-crested
cormorant


Glossy ibis
Roseate
spoonbill
Brown pelican


Snowy egret


Cattle egret
Great blue heron


N/A


Great blue
heron


Great egret
Snowy egret
Little blue heron
Great blue heron

Great egret
Cattle egret
Little blue heron
Anhinga


Anhinga
Great blue
heron


DeSoto


Dixie

Duval


Escambiab


Flagler


Franklin


Gadsdenb


Gilchrist


Columbia


Dade











Table 4. Continued


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species



Glades 6 Snowy egret 0
Little blue heron
Tricolored heron
White ibis
Anhinga
Double-crested
cormorant

Gulfb 7 Anhinga N/A
Cattle egret
Great egret
Snowy egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron
Tricolored heron

Hamilton 2 Great blue heron 0
Glossy ibis

Hardee 4 Snowy egret 0
Glossy ibis
Anhinga
Double-crested
cormorant

Hendry 3 Great egret 2 Anhinga
Snowy egret White ibis
Glossy ibis

Hernando 1 Anhinga 0

Highlands 1 Anhinga 3 Glossy ibis
White ibis
Snowy egret

Hillsborough 0 0


Holmesb 7 White ibis N/A
Anhinga
Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron










38

Table 4. Continued


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species


Wood stork


Indian River

Jacksonb


Anhinga
Great egret
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron


Snowy egret


Tricolored heron

Little blue heron
Wood stork
White ibis
Anhinga


Anhinga


Wood stork


Great blue
heron
White ibis


Wood stork

Wood stork

Great blue
heron

Tricolored
heron


Tricolored heron


Anhinga


Glossy ibis
Double-crested
cormorant


White ibis
Double-crested
cormorant
Snowy egret
Little blue heron
Tricolored heron


White ibis


Glossy ibis
Anhinga


Jefferson


Lafayette


Lake


Leon


Liberty

Madison

Manatee


Marion


Martin












Table 4. Continued


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species


Cattle egret

Wood stork
Great egret
Snowy egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron

Great egret
Great blue heron


Okaloosab


Okeechobee


Wood stork

Great blue heron


Palm Beach


Snowy egret
Glossy ibis

Snowy egret

Snowy egret

Wood stork


Anhinga
Double-crested
cormorant
Great blue heron

Tricolored heron


White ibis
Cattle egret
Great blue heron


St. Lucie

Santa Rosab

Sarasota


Great blue
heron
Tricolored
heron
Double-crested
cormorant

Brown pelican


Great blue heron

Wood stork
Glossy ibis


Monroe

Nassau


Orange

Osceola


Pasco


Pinellas


Polk


Putnam


St. Johns










40

Table 4. Continued


No. species No. species
County gained Species lost Species


Great blue heron

Snowy egret
Tricolored heron
Glossy ibis

Anhinga

Little blue heron


Great blue
heron


Wood stork

Tricolored
heron


Great egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron
Tricolored heron
White ibis
Anhinga

Great egret
Cattle egret
Great blue heron
Little blue heron
White ibis
Anhinga


Washingtonb


'No changes detected.
bThese Panhandle counties were not surveyed in 1976-78.
'N/A = Changes in species distribution unknown as these counties
not surveyed in 1970s. Species listed are, however, additions
to the Commission's records of distribution by county.


Seminoleb


Sumter


Suwannee

Taylor


Union

Volusia

Wakulla


Waltonb











To control for the effects of dif-
ferences in survey intensity, we
compared 1970s' data from all 345
sites listed in Nesbitt et al.
(1982) with data from 150 of those
colonies still active in the 1980s
(Fig. 31). Inspection again shows an
increasing proportion of colonies
with 1 and 2 species, but declines
in colonies of 3 to 5 species. We
could find no statistically signifi-
cant difference between these 2
samples either (X2 = 12.577, 8 df, P
- 0.127). Thus, there is no statis-
tical support for the idea that
Florida's wading bird colonies
presently support fewer species than
in the 1970s.
Frequency of occurrence of species
in breeding colonies.--Similar com-
parisons allowed us to examine how
frequently each species occurred in
different colonies. In terms of raw
numbers of colonies, we gained much
new information on species occur-
rence for many bird species such as
the anhinga and little blue heron
(Fig. 32). We located very few new
colonies for rare birds such as the
roseate spoonbill and reddish egret,
or for well monitored species like
the wood stork and brown pelican.
Analyses of these data may re-
flect, at a gross scale, changes in
distribution of each species. We
located many new colonies in the
recent surveys and the raw frequency
of occurrence for most species in-
creased in our data. We might, how-
ever, expect a stable population to
occur in more colonies but at the
same relative proportions in the 2
samples. Similarly, an expanding
population should occur in an in-
creased number and proportion of
colonies, but a declining population
might well be detected in an in-
creased number of colonies but rela-
tive proportions might be less.
In fact, there was a change in the
relative proportions of species
occurrence between the 2 survey


periods (X2 = 46.798, 13 df, P <
0.0001). This difference was pri-
marily due to the fact that anhingas
were detected and recorded at a much
higher percentage of colonies during
the recent surveys than in the
1970s; this is the only species that
appears to be expanding its distri-
bution. We ran a post hoc analysis
excluding anhingas, and thus includ-
ing only species not proportionately
increasing in terms of frequency of
occurrence in breeding colonies.
Again a significant change was in-
dicated (X2 25.698, 12 df P =
0.012). This difference was primari-
ly due to proportionate declines in
double-crested cormorants, great
blue herons, great egrets, little
blue herons, snowy egrets,
tricolored herons, cattle egrets,
and white ibises (see Fig. 32).
These results only infer apparent
changes in distribution and make no
reference to changes in population
numbers, but support the notion that
many species are declining in terms
of their distribution in peninsular
Florida.
Great egrets were detected in
about 60% of colonies located in
both surveys (Fig. 32b). This is not
surprising, as these large white
birds often nest high in trees.
Thus, they are readily visible from
the air and are often the first
signal to the presence of a colony.
Our efforts to compile complete spe-
cies lists in the most recent sur-
veys led to the gathering of much
new information on the occurrence
and distribution of dark-colored
species, such as the little blue
heron and anhinga. Systematic sur-
veys including uplands provided much
new information on the distribution
of cattle egrets. Figure 32 indi-
cates which species are most wide-
spread but not their relative abun-
dance.














(I)
LJ




z
0
-i
0
O
LL.



0














a-
z

0
LL-
O


O

0
(


NO. SPECIES DETECTED AND IDENTIFIED


Figure 30.
wading bird


Numbers (A) and relative proportions


(B) of species detected in


colonies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.














































0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

NO. SPECIES DETECTED AND IDENTIFIED


Numbers (A) and relative


proportions


historic wading bird colonies in Florida, 1976-78


(B) of species detected in
and 1986-89.


Figure 31















0
i
0
0
o,
L-
0
O






Z
O
-J



o=
z
0


0

a_
0-


0 W a W
0:: X J


Cn om Iot
z ore- o-lo


BIRD SPECIES






Figure 32. Numbers (A) and relative proportions (B) of colonies in which each
of 14 species were detected in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (See Appendix A
for key to species abbreviations).


1976-78 A
S1986-89 E -










B







I n
11 h

:-... ilht.


|


|
!











Population Estimates and Trends

Although the emphasis of our sur-
vey work was to locate and determine
species composition of colonies
statewide, we also visually estimat-
ed numbers of wading birds of each
species at many colonies. Abundance
estimates were used to assign colo-
nies to 1 of 8 size classes (see
Appendix A). (When nests were count-
ed or estimates were of nesting
pairs, the numbers were doubled to
reflect numbers of individuals.)
These data vary in several ways and
are not strictly amenable to statis-
tical estimation techniques. It can
be argued (e.g., Kushlan 1985) that
neither our data nor those collected
in the 1970s are of sufficient pre-
cision or accuracy to consider
changes in numbers of birds. Such
arguments are based on unknown vari-
ation among observers, and differ-
ences in study design, as well as
natural variations in species abun-
dance due to differences in timing
of visits relative to the nesting
phenology of the different species.
However, the Commission's data are
the best currently available and
give the only statewide picture of
wading bird populations. Our esti-
mates are crude but are derived from
the largest sample of colonies ever
examined in Florida. As such, the
data have unique value. Due to vary-
ing biases and missing data, we
examined these data species by spe-
cies as recommended by Frohring et
al. (1988). But we also combined
estimates to assign each colony as a
whole to a size class.
This discussion of population
sizes is presented with the follow-
ing caveats. Despite training ses-
sions held to help 1980s' observers
estimate numbers of wading birds,
size class estimates vary among
observers to an unknown degree. The
visibility of different species
affects the ability, and often the


willingness, of an observer to esti-
mate numbers. For example, small
dark herons (e.g., little blue her-
on, tricolored heron, and glossy
ibis) that nest low in dense vegeta-
tion are most difficult to spot and
to separate. Thus, it was often nei-
ther possible nor meaningful to
estimate numbers from the airplane.
Similarly, it is difficult to dif-
ferentiate among small white waders
(e.g., white ibis, cattle egret, and
snowy egret). Large white egrets or
storks are much easier to count.
Thus, no estimates were made for a
higher percentage of snowy egret,
white ibis, and little blue and
tricolored heron colonies compared
to wood storks and great egrets
(Table 5).
Size and density of a colony both
affect visual estimation (Erwin
1982). For example, the size of
large white ibis and cattle egret
colonies was often not estimated
since they frequently occurred to-
gether in large dense nesting colo-
nies. Finally, our data were derived
by several different methods, in-
cluding visual estimates from air-
craft, ground visits (on foot or
from a boat), flight line counts,
and counts from aerial photos.
We examined all records of visits
to colonies for each of 14 species
(Table 1). When a colony was visited
more than once, we selected the
highest count recorded during the
recent survey period (1986-89). The
distribution of size categories for
each species are summarized in Figs.
33 50. (These figures exclude
colonies where no estimates of num-
bers were made). When estimating
total populations, it seemed impor-
tant to account for numbers present
at colonies where no estimate was
made but the species was present. In
these cases the median size class
for the species was used as an esti-
mate and added to the total.











46

Table 5. Statewide frequency distribution (n(%]) of size-class estimates of abundance for wading birds in
nesting colonies in Florida, 1986 to 1989.


Species


Brown pelican


Double-crested
cormorant

Anhinga


Great blue
heron

Great egret


Snowy egret


Little blue
heron

Tricolored
heron

Reddish egret


Cattle egret


White ibis


Glossy ibis


Roseate
spoonbi tt

Wood stork


Number of


:olonies


A"


9
(14.1)

18
(16.4)

79
(38.0)

195
(58.9)

92
(21.8)

35
(26.9)

53
(19.9)

41
(29.1)

5
(45.5)

8
(2.8)

16
(15.1)

3
(13.6)

3
(27.3)

7
(13.5)


D E F G H


B


14
(21.9)

36
(32.7)

66
(31.7)

94
(28.4)

201
(47.6)

42
(32.3)

123
(46.2)

53
(37.6)

3
(27.3)

53
(18.9)

22
(20.8)

11
(50.0)

3
(27.3)

17
(32.70


Definitions of abundance codes: A:<10, 8:10-99, C:100-249, D:250-499, E:500-749, F:750-999,
G:1,000-3,000, and H = >3000.

bNumber of colonies where species was detected but no estimate of abundance was made.

"For our purposes numerous (16-20) small colonies in Florida Bay were combined into 5
regional nesting areas (R. Bjork, NAS, pers. commun.)


C


12
(18.8)

15
(13.6)

7
(3.7)

13
(3.9)

64
(15.2)

12
(9.2)

17
(6.4)

4
(2.8)

0
(0.0)

61
(21.7)

6
(5.7)

3
(13.6)

3
(27.3)

16
(30.8)


X1


9
(14.1)

27
(24.5)

53
(25.5)

27
(8.2)

40
(9.5)

31
(23.8)

65
(24.4)

29
(20.6)

3
(27.3)

25
(8.9)

34
(32.1)

4
(18.2)

0
(0.0)

5
(9.6)











Rather crude estimates of total
population (Table 6) were derived
for each species by simply multiply-
ing the frequency of each size class
by the mid-point of that size class;
these values were then summed. To
give some indication of the vari-
ability in the data, Table 6 also
includes figures derived from using
the upper- and lower-limits of each
size category to estimate population
size. These limits frequently
spanned an order of magnitude (e.g.,
great blue heron, double-crested
cormorant).
Population estimates for the peri-
od 1976-78 were drawn from data
reported by Nesbitt et al. (1982).
We selected the highest count re-
corded for each species at a colony
during the survey period. Numbers
reported by Nesbitt et al. (1982)
were converted from numbers of nest-
ing pairs to numbers of individuals
by doubling. To account for the
abundance of a species where no
estimate was made but the species
was known to be present, we took a
slightly different approach. With
the historical data, we used the
mean number of pairs per colony
times the number of colonies where
the species was detected but no
estimate of numbers was recorded.
Totals were then doubled to estimate
numbers of individuals for compari-
son with our 1980s' data.
In comparing population estimates,
it is important to consider the
differences in survey techniques, as
well as the uncertain accuracy of
the count data. Any conclusions
regarding changes in population
sizes are tenuous at best, as these
data are not amenable to statistical
trend analysis. Generally, ground
censuses are considered more accu-
rate than aerial estimates (King
1978), and counts from slow-moving
helicopters are expected to be more
accurate than counts from fixed-wing
aircraft. The more recent surveys


included a much higher proportion of
ground counts for most species (Ta-
ble 7), and helicopter surveys not
used in the 1970s were used to cen-
sus 262 colonies in 1987-89 (Table
2). Furthermore, many of our aerial
estimates were supplemented by
counts from photos taken at the time
of the survey. For the sake of com-
parison, the numbers discussed here
are derived from colonies east of
the Ochlockonee River. (Statewide
population estimates for the 1980s
[Table 6] are greater for most spe-
cies as these include additional
colonies from the Panhandle.)
Brown Pelican.--Brown pelican col-
onies are monitored on a biennial
basis by Bureau of Wildlife Research
staff, and current status was summa-
rized recently by Nesbitt (1991).
Based on 1989 surveys, the pre-nest-
ing population was estimated at
>32,000 at 30-35 colonies, and the
population is apparently increasing.
Our estimate (Table 8) was only
22,000 at 63 colonies, suggesting
that we greatly underestimated peli-
can numbers. Even this low value
suggests an increase in population
size as documented in Nesbitt et al.
(1982). Our estimate was based on
counts from 54 colonies, and 9
(14.3%) colonies for which no esti-
mate was available where the median
size class (100-250 individuals) was
used. Another approach to examining
these estimates of population size
is to consider changes in the rela-
tive frequency distributions of each
of 4 broad size classes (Fig. 33).
For pelicans, there was no signifi-
cant change in colony size (X2 -
3.145, 3 df, P 0.370).
There was little difference in
survey methods used in 1976-78 and
later in the 1980s (Table 7). While
our data provide a complete view of
pelican distribution, our numbers
are neither as accurate nor as pre-
cise as those available from the
biennial pelican surveys.












Table 6. Statewide population estimates (minimum; maximum) for the period 1986
to 1989. (See text for calculation method as numbers may not be strictly
comparable and are of limited accuracy and precision).


Number of Number of individuals
Species colonies present at colonies


Brown pelican 64 22,490 ( 13,499; 31,490)

Double-crested 110 16,430 ( 8,898; 23,980)
cormorant

Anhinga 208 9,290 ( 2,719; 15,940)

Great blue herona 331 10,905 ( 3,455; 18,550)

Great egret 422 40,540 ( 19,652; 61,520)

Snowy egret 130 14,040 ( 6,715; 21,400)

Little blue heron 266 17,705 ( 6,133; 29,330)

Tricolored heron 141 16,165 ( 8,511; 23,860)

Reddish egret 11 355 ( 65; 650)

Cattle egret 281 154,805 (103,988; 205,630)

White ibis 106 68,585 ( 31,426; 105,760)

Glossy ibis 22 3,365 ( 1,453; 5,280)

Roseate spoonbill lib 1,705 ( 1,083; 2,330)

Wood stork 52 10,170 ( 5,327; 15,020)


alncludes "great white heron."

bFor our purposes numerous (16-20) small colonies in Florida Bay were
combined into 5 regional nesting areas (R. Bjork, NAS, pers. commun.)














Table 7. Numbers of colonies and survey methods used in comparisons
Florida, east of the Ochlockonee River, in 1976-78 and 1986-89.


of populations of wading birds in


Species Number of Survey methods
colonies Aerial(X)" Ground(%)6


Brown pelican
1976-78
1986-89

Double-crested cormorant
1976-78
1986-89

Anhinga
1976-78
1986-89

Great blue heron
1976-78
1986-89


Great egret
1976-78
1986-89

Snowy egret
1976-78
1986-89

Little blue heron
1976-78
1986-89

Tricolored heron
1976-78
1986-89

Reddish egret
1976-78
1986-89

Cattle egret
1976-78
1986-89

White ibis
1976-78
1986-89

Glossy ibis
1976-78
1986-89

Roseate spoonbill
1976-78
1986-89c


Wood stork
1976-78
1986-89


40(83.3) 8(16.7)
53(84.1) 10(15.9)


58(75.3) 19(24.7)
87(79.1) 23(20.9)


56(81.2) 13(18.8)
126(66.7) 63(33.3)


159(91.9) 14(08.1)
202(67.6) 97(32.4)


201(91.8) 18(08.2)
321(81.7) 72(18.3)


87(79.8) 22(20.2)
59(48.4) 63(51.6)


121(81.8) 27(18.2)
142(58.4) 101(41.6)


87(71.9) 34(28.1)
43(30.9) 96(69.1)


3(30.0) 7(70.0)
1(09.1) 10(90.9)


194(91.9) 17(08.1)
198(77.0) 59(23.0)


72(83.7) 14(16.3)
54(54.5) 45(45.5)


10(66.7) 5(33.3)
7(31.8) 15(68.2)


8(53.3) 7(46.7)
1(09.1) 10(90.9)


27(84.4) 5(15.6)
39(76.5) 12(23.5)


Florida Bay were
NAS, pers. common.)


"IncLudes aerial photos.
blncludes visits from boat, vehicles, and on foot.
eFor our purposes numerous (16-20) small colonies in
combined into 5 regional nesting areas (R. Bjork,














Table 8. Population estimates for peninsular Florida, east of the Ochlockonee River, 1976-78 (Nesbitt et at.
1982) and 1986-89 (this study). See text for calculation methods as numbers may not be strictly comparable.


Number of Mumber of individuals
Species colonies present at coLonies

Brown pelican
1976-78 48 11,490
1986-89 A63 115


Double-crested cormorant
1976-78
1986-89

Anhinga
1976-78
1986-89

Great blue heron"
1976-78
1986-89

Great egret
1976-78
1986-89

Snowy egret
1976-78
1986-89

Little blue heron
1976-78
1986-89


Tricolored heron
1976-78
1986-89

Reddish egret
1976-78
1986-89

Cattle egret
1976-78
1986-89

White ibis
1976-78
1986-89

Glossy ibis
1976-78
1986-89

Roseate spoonbill
1976-78
1986-89c

Wood stork
1976-78
1986-89


28,880
16,430


6,050
9,095


9,498
10,495


50,784
39,455


51,130
13,900


20,332
16,995


34,900
16,005


50
355


593,606
140,820


180,812
65,445


2,088
3,365


1,882
1,705


18,226
10,170


"Reported as "numbers of nesting pairs."
bIncludes "great white heron."
cFor our purposes numerous (16-20) small colonies in Florida Bay were
combined into 5 regional nesting areas (R. Bjork, NAS, pers. comnun.)




























< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000


SIZE CLASS


Figure 33.
Florida, 1


Distribution of size classes for brown pelican colonies


976-78 and 1986-89.


(For data see Appendix I.)


Figure 34.


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for double-crested cormorant


colonies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.


(For data see Appendix I.)

































< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000


SIZE CLASS


Figure 35. Distribution of size classes for anhinga colonies
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)


S1976-78 (N=158)
0.9
1986-89 (N=304)
-. ...... 0 .8



0.6

S... .. . ..... ..0 .5

.. 0.4

0.3

I 0.2
S........................ 0.
i C


< 100 100-499 500-1,000


>1,000


Figure 36.
in Florida,


SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for great blue heron colonies
1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)









53

0.8 0.8
1976-78 (N=208)
0.7 ..... 0.7
0 [ 1986-89 (N=382)
0.6 ----------------- -.. -........- ..-- 0.6
O
U
0.5 --- ----.------ - -- ----- .-.. 0.5

0.4 .............. --- 0 .4

0 .3 ... ........................ 0 .

O 0.2 0.2

I *~ c- ----- i II^ ^^^ i,------------------- t ^
O 0.1 I-- --- 0.1

0.0 0.0
< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Figure 37. Distribution of size classes for great egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)



0.8 0.8
1976-78 (N=70)
S 0.7 - 0.7
0 1986-89 (N=99)
0 6 -- -- ............... ................................. 0.6
0
0.5 -- 0.5

0.4 0 0.4
S 0.3 .......... . ................ ......... ..0.3
0.3--- ----- ---- --- -- ----------0.3
E-
O 0.2 -- 0.2

S01 I 0.1

0.0 ----0.0
< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Figure 38. Distribution of size classes for snowy egret colonies in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)

































Figure 39.
in Florida,


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for little blue heron colonies


1976-78 and 1986-89.


(For data see Appendix I.)


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000


SIZE CLASS


Figure 40.
in Florida,


Distribution of size classes


for tricolored heron colonies


1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)














- 1976-78 (N=10)

i 1986-89 (N= 8)


< 100


SIZE CLASS


Figure 41.
Florida, 1


Distribution of size classes for


976-78 and 1986-89.


(For data see


0.4

03 .


Figure 42.
Florida, 197


reddish egret colonies
Appendix I.)




0.8
76-78 (N=202)
S.....0.7
86-89 (N=256)
.... 0.6

........................... 0 .5



... .... ....... .................... 0 .




S0.1


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for cattle egret
6-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Appendix I.)


colonies in


19

19

































Figure 43.


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000

SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for white ibis colonies


Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.


(For data see Appendix I.)


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000


SIZE CLASS


Figure 44. Distribution of s
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.


ize classes


for glossy


ibis colonies in


(For data see Appendix I.)











M 1976-78 (N=15)
| 1986-89 (N=11)









I l


100-499 500-1,000
SIZE CLASS


Figure 45.
in Florida


Distribution of size
1976-78 and 1986-89.


classes for roseate


spoonbill colonies


(For data see Appendix I.)


1976-78 (N=32)

I 1986-89 (N=47)


03 -
0.2


< 100 100-499 500-1,000 >1,000


Figure 46.


SIZE CLASS
Distribution of size classes for wood stork colonies in


Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.


< 100


(For data see Appendix I.)





























A B C D E F G H
SIZE CLASS


Figure 47. Distribution of colony size class for 3 species of Pelecan-
iformes in Florida, 1986-89. (For data see Appendix E.)


SIZE CLASS
-->
Figure 48. Distribution of colony size class for 3 species of egrets
in Florida, 1986-89. (For data see Appendix E.)















-LITTLE BLUE HERON


0.3 +-


\r\ TRICOLORED



A B C D E F G


HERON


SIZE CLASS


Figure 49.
in Florida,


Distribution of colony size class for 3


1986-89.


species of herons


(For data see Appendix E.)


A B C D E F G H

SIZE CLASS
NILL>


Distribution of colony size class for white


ibises and wood


Figure
storks


0 6 + -


in Florida, 1986-89.


(For data see Appendix E.)












precise as those available from the
Commission's biennial pelican colony
surveys.
Double-crested cormorant.--Our
estimate of 16,000 cormorants in 110
colonies (Table 8) suggests a rather
dramatic decline in numbers (Fig.
51). Nesbitt et al. (1982) reported
>28,000 in 77 colonies (Table 8).
This figure is based on estimates of
numbers of pairs from 62 colonies,
plus 15 (19.5%) colonies where cor-
morants were recorded only as pres-
ent where the average number of
pairs (187) was used. Our estimate
for the 1980s is based on counts
from 83 of the 110 colonies. The
median size class for cormorants
(10-99 individuals) was assigned to
the remaining 27 (24.5%) colonies
for which no estimate was available.
There was little difference in sur-
vey methods used in 1976-78 and
later in the 1980s (Table 7). This
apparent decline in numbers was
accompanied by a proportionate de-
cline in numbers of colonies sup-
porting >100 individuals (Fig. 34).
This overall change in pattern
(i.e., relatively more colonies with
fewer birds and conversely, fewer
colonies in the large categories)
between the 1970s and 1980s appears
real (X2 19.174, 3 df, P < 0.0001).
There is increasing evidence (P.
Southall and B. Millsap, pers. ob-
servation) of winter breeding by
cormorants in both north and south
Florida; if this is widespread we
likely underestimated numbers of
this bird.
Anhinga.--Numbers of anhingas ap-
pear to have increased from ca.
6,000 in 69 colonies to ca. 9,000 in
189 colonies in the 1980s (Table 8).
Population size for the 1970s was
estimated from counts made at 46
colonies, plus 23 colonies (33.3%)
where anhingas were only recorded as
present where the average number of
pairs (43) was used. Our estimate
for peninsular Florida is based on


counts from 155 colonies plus 53
(28.0%) colonies where counts were
not made, but which were assigned to
the median size class (10-99 indi-
viduals). The apparent increase in
numbers of anhingas (Fig. 52) may in
part be due to differences in survey
methods. Our figures include a high-
er proportion of counts from ground
visits (Table 7), which increased
the likelihood of detecting this
large dark bird. Also, this species
occurs most frequently in small
colonies which we sampled more ef-
fectively than the 1970s' surveys.
Thus we have a much clearer picture
of anhinga distribution but must be
cautious when inferring an increase
in numbers. As with most species, we
detected a proportionate decline in
numbers of large anhinga colonies
but a large increase in proportions
of small (<100 birds) colonies (Fig.
35). Analyses of these data demon-
strated that the change was statis-
tically significant (X2 = 34.901, 1
df, P < 0.0001).
Great blue heron.--This bird also
appears to have increased in num-
bers. The surveys of the 1970s (Ta-
ble 8) tabulated nearly 9,500 indi-
viduals in 173 different colonies.
This figure is based on counts from
158 colonies, plus 14 (8.9%) colo-
nies where the average size (27
pairs) was used. Our estimate of
>10,000 for the present survey is
based on counts from 272 of 299
colonies found east of the
Ochlockonee River. The median size
class for great blue heron colonies
was small (10-99 individuals) and
was assigned to 27 (9.0%) colonies
for which no estimate of size class
was made.
Biases similar to those discussed
for the anhinga were at work here,
and no doubt our systematic aerial
surveys enhanced our ability to
detect small single-species clusters
of great blue heron nests relative
to the surveys of 1976-78.












O
O
O

X








5








Figure 51.
present in


herons, an
(For data


SNEG GREG TCHE DCCO


Estimated population sizes


(maximum nos. of individuals


breeding colonies) of snowy and great egrets, tricolored
d double-crested cormorants in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.
see Table 8.)


4- LBHE WOST GBIE ANHI ROSP REEG
Figure 52. Estimated population sizes (maximum nos. of individuals
present in breeding colonies) of little blue herons, wood storks, great
blue herons, anhingas, roseate spoonbills, and reddish egrets in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For data see Table 8).











This bias likely contributes to the
pattern seen in Fig. 36 but cannot
account for the decline in numbers
of larger great blue heron colonies.
Thus, for this species we also have
a much better picture of current
distribution upon which to make
future inferences regarding popula-
tion trends. Comparing numbers of
colonies with <100 and >100 great
blue herons was necessary for sta-
tistical reasons and confirmed this
pattern as significant (X2 21.730,
1 df, P < 0.0001). In the 1970s,
ca. 18% of all great blue heron
colonies were in the larger size
classes, this declined to ca. 5% in
the 1980s.
Our data do not separate estimates
for the white morph (great white
heron) which has been studied in
more detail in Florida Bay. Powell
et al. (1989) concluded that popula-
tion size in 1984 was comparable to
numbers in the 1960s.
Great egret.--These large white
birds nest high in trees, often
occupying the highest nest sites in
multiple species colonies. As a
result, they are easily detected
from the air and their presence led
to the discovery of many colonies.
Our estimate of ca. 39,000 individu-
als in 393 peninsular colonies was
lower than the >50,000 counted at
219 colonies in 1976-78 (Table 8).
The 1976-78 value is based on esti-
mates of numbers of pairs present in
218 colonies, plus 11 colonies
(4.8%) where the average size (116
pairs) was used. Our estimate is
based on counts from 353 colonies
plus 40 (10.2%) colonies assigned to
the median size class (10-99 indi-
viduals).
This apparent decline in total
population size was accompanied by a
proportionate decline in numbers of
large (>100 individual great egrets)
colonies from ca. 64% to <24%; and a
proportionate increase in numbers of
small (<100 birds) colonies from 37%


to 77% (Fig. 37) (X2 96.003, 3 df,
P < 0.0001). There was little dif-
ference in survey methods used in
1976-78 and later in the 1980s (Ta-
ble 7).
Snowy egret. --Our estimate of
<14,000 snowy egrets in 122 peninsu-
lar colonies was based on counts
from 91 colonies plus an additional
31 (25.4%) colonies assigned to the
median size class (10-99 individu-
als). Comparing this to the 1970s'
estimate of >51,000 birds in 109
colonies (Table 8) suggests a dra-
matic decline. The 1976-78 figure
was based upon estimates of snowy
egret pairs made at 70 colonies,
plus 39 (35.8%) colonies where the
average number of pairs (234) was
used.
As with the great egret, a similar
pattern of lower total population
estimates, proportionate declines in
numbers of large colonies, and an
increase in numbers of small colo-
nies was observed for snowy egrets
(Fig. 38). Numbers of small (<100)
colonies increased from 33% in the
1970s to 78% in the present survey,
while all other size classes de-
clined (X2 36.774, 3 df, P <
0.0001).
We visited a much greater number
of snowy egret colonies on the
ground in 1986-89 than in 1976-78
(Table 7), which supports the idea
that this decline may be real and
that the increase in numbers of
small colonies has not compensated
for the loss of larger colonies.
Little blue heron.--Comparing the
present estimate of <17,000 birds in
243 colonies with the estimate of
>20,000 in 148 colonies (Table 8)
suggests a possible decline in num-
bers of little blue herons. Our
estimate was based upon counts made
at 180 colonies. Numbers at 63
(25.9%) additional colonies were
assigned to the median size class
for little blue herons (10-99 indi-
viduals) as no estimates of abun-











dance were made at many colonies.
The 1976-78 figure was derived from
estimates of numbers of breeding
pairs at 97 colonies, plus 51
(34.5%) colonies where the average
number of breeding pairs (68) re-
ported in Nesbitt et al. (1982) was
used.
We made special efforts to detect
this and other dark-colored herons
by visiting many colonies on the
ground (Table 7) or from a helicop-
ter. Little blue herons' color,
size, and habit of nesting low under
the shrub canopy make estimating
numbers very difficult, inaccurate,
and imprecise. The pattern of change
in size class distribution (Fig. 39)
is similar to that noted above for
snowy and great egrets. Proportions
of small (<100 birds) colonies in-
creased from 52% to 88%, while larg-
er (>100) colonies declined from 48%
to 11% (X2 49.231, 3 df, P <
0.0001).
No population change should be
inferred from these comparisons, but
again we have a much better picture
of current distribution upon which
to make future inferences regarding
population trends.
Tricolored heron.--Our estimate of
16,000 birds in 139 colonies is less
than half of the estimate of nearly
35,000 in 121 colonies in the 1970s
(Table 8). Our number is based upon
counts from 112 peninsular colonies
plus 27 (19.4%) colonies, for which
no estimate was made, assigned to
the median size class (10-99 indi-
viduals). The 1976-78 number is
based on estimates of breeding pairs
reported from 74 colonies, plus 47
(38.8%) colonies where the average
number (144 pairs) was used.
Like the little blue heron, tri-
colors are small dark herons that
often nest under the shrub canopy.
Thus, much of the discussion above
applies here. The pattern of change
in size class distribution (Fig. 40)
is also similar but more pronounced.


Small (<100) colonies increased from
39% to 84%, while larger colonies
(>100) declined from 61% to 16%. The
decline suggested here is dramatic
and, along with trends in snowy
egret numbers, warrants further
investigation.
Reddish egret.--Our estimate of
ca. 350 reddish egrets in 11 col-
onies (Table 8) is based on esti-
mates from 8 colonies plus 3 colo-
nies assigned to the median size
class (10-99 individuals). This
suggests a large increase over num-
bers reported in Nesbitt et al.
(1982), but these data are apparent-
ly incomplete. Powell et al. (1989)
cite figures of 200 to 300 adults
during the 1977-78 nesting season in
Florida Bay, at which time the popu-
lation was increasing. (Powell et
al. 1989). This is the rarest spe-
cies of ciconiiform in Florida, and
deserves special attention starting
with a survey of colonies outside of
Tampa Bay. Small sample sizes pre-
cluded statistical analyses of the
data in Figure 41.
Cattle egret.--Our figure of ca.
140,000 cattle egrets in 257 colo-
nies in peninsular Florida (Table 8)
is based on size class estimates
made at 235 colonies. The median
size class (250-499 individuals) was
assigned to 22 (8.6%) colonies where
cattle egrets were detected but no
estimate of abundance was made. Our
estimate is based on a much higher
number of ground visits than were
made in 1976-78 (Table 7).
Comparing this figure with nearly
600,000 birds from 211 colonies in
the 1970s suggests a dramatic de-
cline in population size (Fig. 53).
This large figure was derived from
estimates made at 202 colonies, plus
9 (4.3%) colonies where the average
number (1,278 pairs) was used. The
proportion of large (>1,000 birds)
colonies declined dramatically from
58% in 1976-78 to 13% in the present
surveys with proportionate increases











600


500--


400-


300


200


100


CAEG


-g 1976-78

1986-89


I 1


WHIB


Figure 53. Estimated population size (maximum nos. of individuals
present in breeding colonies) of cattle egrets and white ibises in


Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89. (For


in all smaller categories (Fig. 42)
(X2 120.065, 3 df, P < 0.0001).
Cattle egrets tend to start nest-
ing later in the year than other
colonial birds, and seasonal differ-
ences in timing of the 1976-78 and
1986-89 surveys likely led us to
underestimate numbers of this spe-
cies. In 1976-78, most (86%) cattle
egret colonies reached their maximum
numbers in June and July. But in the
1980s, few surveys were flown in
July and most cattle egret colonies
were counted in May (60%) or June
(34%). The magnitude of this bias is
difficult to determine but seems
unlikely to account for such a dra-
matic decline in numbers. The usual
pattern of population size change
for a recently invading species like
the cattle egret is a rapid increase
in numbers to a peak above carrying
capacity followed by a decline. Our
data are flawed but suggest that


data see Table 8).


this may be happening to Florida's
cattle egret population.
White ibis.--Our figure of ca.
65,000 birds in 99 peninsular col-
onies (Table 8) was based on size
class estimates from 68 colonies.
The median size class of these col-
onies (10-99 individuals) was as-
signed to an additional 31 (31.3%)
colonies where white ibis were pres-
ent but uncounted. This figure is
much lower than the >180,000 birds
in 86 colonies in 1976-78, derived
from estimates from 68 colonies plus
18 (20.9%) where the average (1,051
pairs) was used.
Given the large size of many white
ibis colonies (up to 12,000 birds)
our method of estimation is biased
low and is very imprecise because
many of the uncounted white ibis
colonies were probably much larger
than 100 birds. This may have low-
ered our present estimate by as much











as 15,000 birds giving an estimate
of nearly 80,000, which still sug-
gests a large decline since the
1970s.
The pattern of change in size
class distribution (Fig. 43) re-
flects the presence of many large
(>1,000 birds) colonies. Small colo-
nies increased from 15% to 53% while
numbers of colonies with >1,000
ibises declined from 40% to 21% (X2
- 23.456, 3 df, P < 0.0001).
Additional visits to known white
ibis colonies are needed to obtain a
better idea of current population
status and the true extent of the
decline indicated. Further analyses
of the data on hand are warranted as
well.
Glossy ibis.--The glossy ibis re-
mains a relatively rare bird in
Florida, not having reached the
population sizes achieved in the
mid-Atlantic states. Our estimate of
ca. 3,000 is based on counts from 18
colonies. The median size class (10-
99 individuals) was assigned to 4
(18.2%) uncounted colonies. Like
little blue and tricolored herons,
this small dark bird is not easily
detected from the air, and much of
our data were collected from the
ground (Table 7). The pattern of
change in size class distribution
(Fig. 44) appears complex and is
confounded by the presence of a
single large (>1,000) colony in the
phosphate mining areas of Polk Coun-
ty.
Roseate spoonbill.-- Population
estimates (Fig. 45) for this rarity
are based on unpublished data col-
lected from ground surveys by Na-
tional Audubon Society biologists in
Florida and Tampa bays. Their counts
show populations ranging from 507 to
654 nests in Florida Bay (1987-90)
plus 50 to 100 pairs in Tampa Bay
(1987-89). Powell et al. (1989)
mention that the Florida Bay popula-
tion reached a recent high of ca.
2,500 adults in the 1978-79 season


and declined to ca. 900 adults 5 yr
later. Current trends are unclear
and our data add little. In part,
this is because spoonbills have an
extended nesting season which begins
in fall; our work began in March.
Wood stork.--Our estimate of ca.
10,000 storks in 52 colonies (Fig.
46) was based on size class esti-
mates from 47 colonies plus 5 colo-
nies (10.2%) assigned to the median
size class (100-249). This is much
lower than the 1970s' estimate of
>18,000 at 32 colonies (Table 8).
(Estimates were made at all wood
stork colonies visited in 1976-78).
There was little difference in sur-
vey methods (Table 7) that would
suggest that these data are not
comparable. Again, we observed a
proportionate decline in numbers of
large (>500 storks) colonies from 12
to 3 (or ca. 38% to 6%) (X2 11.985,
2 df, P = 0.002).
The well-known population decline
(e.g., Ogden and Nesbitt 1979) ap-
pears to be continuing in spite of a
shift in distribution (Fig. 52 and
Ogden et al. 1987). Kushlan and
Frohring's (1986) conservative esti-
mate of the historic south Florida
population was 20,000 storks. Size
class estimates from 14 south Flori-
da colonies total only 3,575 indi-
viduals, supporting the notion of a
dramatic decline of storks in the
south.
Like great egrets, storks are
large white birds which nest high in
trees. Thus, their colonies are easy
to spot, and we likely missed few
colonies. Using this information,
what is needed next is a series of
systematic ground and helicopter
surveys aimed at obtaining accurate
counts of nesting pairs, as our
estimates of population size are
very coarse (Table 6).











Changes in colony size and latitu-
dinal distribution.--The present
survey revealed that only 3 species
(brown pelican, cattle egret, and
white ibis) occurred in large
(>1,000) colonies >10% of the time
(Figs. 47 50). Overall estimates
of colony size reveal a clear pat-
tern in terms of both raw numbers of
colonies and proportions of colo-
nies. Compared to the mid-1970s,
there are now fewer large colonies
and more smaller colonies (Fig. 54).
Again, this difference in part re-
flects the intensive and systematic
nature of the present surveys. Com-
pared to the surveys conducted in
the 1970s we were more likely to
encounter small colonies, but large
colonies should not have this bias
and should have been equally detect-
able in both surveys. Large colonies
declined from 28% of all colonies in
the 1970s' survey to only 11% in the
present survey, while small colonies
(<100) increased from 29% to 46%
(Fig. 54) (X2 53.054, 3 df, P <
0.0001). The reduction in numbers of
large colonies is also evident when
only historic colonies visited dur-
ing both decades are considered
(Fig. 55) (X2 6.864, 3 df, P -
0.076). Considering only colonies
visited during both surveys minimiz-
es the bias towards locating more
small colonies in the present sur-
vey.
These patterns, along with a shift
to the north, have been suggested
for the wood stork (Ogden et al.
1987) and the white ibis (P. Freder-
ick, pers. commun.) and may apply
more generally (Ogden 1978:141). To
examine this possibility, we first
compared numbers of colonies at
different latitudes east of the
Ochlockonee River (X2 = 10.038, 6 df,
P 0.123). Visual inspection (Fig.
56) suggests a proportionate decline
in numbers of colonies south of 280
with 1 exception: 260 to 270 north
latitude where the Water Conserva-


tion Areas are located. Also indi-
cated is a proportionate increase in
numbers of colonies north of 29.
These comparisons are limited in
scope and intended for comparison
among latitudes but only within the
same latitude in different years. We
made no corrections for differences
in land and wetland areas among the
belts of latitude.
Where sample sizes allowed, we
next examined these data (i.e.,
numbers of colonies per degree of
latitude) on a species-by-species
basis (Appendix D). This approach
does not address shifts in popula-
tion numbers (our data are not suit-
able for this detailed level of
analysis) and looks only at gross
changes in distribution as measured
by frequency of occurrence in colo-
nies at different belts of latitude.
The only statistically significant
patterns were for double-crested
cormorants (X2 23.108, 6 df, P -
0.001), little blue herons (X2 -
18.465, 6 df, P 0.005), and cattle
egrets (X2 = 28.129, 6 df, P <
0.001). Numbers of colonies with
cormorants declined south of a line
from Marco Island to Hollywood
(i.e., 260 north latitude) and in-
creased north of this line (Fig.
57). Little blue heron colonies
shifted northwards, showing declines
south of a line from New Smyrna to
Yankeetown (i.e., south of 29 north)
and increases to the north (Fig.
58). Cattle egret colonies also
appear to have shifted north (Fig.
59) with a proportionately large
increase in numbers of colonies in
the northern peninsula (i.e., be-
tween 290 and 300). This was accom-
panied by a decline in colonies
south of 270 (i.e., south of a line
from Jupiter to Port Charlotte), and
a surprising addition of colonies in
the Keys.












1976-78
1986-89


(n=345)
(n=633)


i-i


(100 100-499 500-1,000 > 1,000
SIZE CLASS


Figure 54. Numbers (A) and relative proportions (B)
size categories in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.


of colonies


in each of 4


250 -


50 +


nl


R


| | m



































< 100 100-499 500-1,000


>1,000


SIZE CLASS







Figure 55. Proportions of historic colonies surveyed in 1976-78 and 1986-89
in each of 4 size categories in Florida.































0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30
PROPORTION OF COLONIES





















Figure 56. Latitudinal distribution of wading bird colonies in Florida, 1976-
78 and 1986-89 (For data see Appendix B).




































0.05 0.10


0.15 0.20


PROPORTION OF









Figure 57. Latitudinal variation in numbers of
colonies in Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (For data


- COLONIES









double-crested


see Appendix D).


1976-78M

1986-89r]












- ----- 1 -


23
0,


.00


0.25


0.30


0.35


cormorant





















23


0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30
PROPORTION OF COLONIES





Figure 58. Latitudinal variation in numbers of little blue heron coloni
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (For data see Appendix D).


1976-78M
1986-89=



_--I


I


0.35


es in



































0.05 0.10


1976-78=

1986-89E I


0.15 0.20 0.25


PROPORTION


OF COLONIES


Figure 59. Latitudinal variation
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (For


in numbers of cattle egret
data see Appendix D).


colonies in


24

93


0.00


0.30












Next, we considered changes in the
frequency distribution of different
sizes of colonies in peninsular
Florida (Fig. 60). This allows us to
see how the trend towards fewer
large colonies and more small colo-
nies changes from south to north.
The data here are numbers of colo-
nies in different size classes per
degree of latitude, and although the
plots (Fig. 60) reflect all 8 origi-
nal size classes, statistical analy-
ses required lumping size classes
into 4 or fewer larger categories.
The lower Keys (south of
Tavernier, at 240 north) supported
few large colonies in the 1970s or
1980s (Fig. 60a) and exhibited no
change (X2 0.356, 1 df, P = 0.551).
From 250 through 27 north latitude,
the pattern of fewer large and more
small colonies appears to hold (Fig.
60b, c, and d). Colonies in 250 fall
in a belt between Tavernier and
Hollywood on the east, and south of
Marco Island on the west. In this
area the predominant pattern was a
decline in colonies assigned to the
size classes 100 to 499 birds, and
to a lesser extent an increase in
small (<100) colonies (Fig. 60b) (X2
- 10.545, 3 df, P = 0.014). North of
here, the 260 belt covers an area
from Hollywood to Jupiter on the
east, and from Marco Island to Port
Charlotte on the west. Here the
predominant pattern of change was a
decline in large colonies (>1,000
birds) (X2 8.935, 3 df, P = 0.030).
Continuing north, 270 covers the area
from Jupiter to Malabar (just south
of Melbourne) on the east, and Port
Charlotte to Tampa on the west.
Here, the same pattern continues (X2
- 14.916, 3 df, P = 0.002), but the
increase in small colonies is more
pronounced (cf. Fig. 60c and d).
These patterns are less clear
north of 28 degrees (Fig. 60e, f,
and g). Chi-square tests similar to
those discussed above revealed no
significant changes (P > 0.23) in


north Florida. Thus, the overall
statewide pattern of fewer larger
colonies and more small colonies
appears largely due to changes south
of Tampa, perhaps reflecting the
combination of extensive drainage
and prolonged drought. In conclu-
sion, there is evidence that breed-
ing populations of wading birds in
south Florida have fragmented and
are declining.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Future Monitoring Plans

The following is offered as a
starting point for future planning
needed to develop and implement the
projects needed to adequately ad-
dress the goals identified in the
Commission's Strategic Plan (Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
1988:50) for wading birds (see p.
1).
Implementation of the ideas pre-
sented here depends upon the future
availability of resources such as
field staff, pilots, and money for
aerial surveys.
We have not attempted to fully
address the management implications
and needs of species identified as
declining.
The second objective for wading
birds in the Commission's Strategic
Plan is essentially 2-fold. First,
it calls for design and implementa-
tion of a monitoring program to in-
dex wading bird populations. (The
second part, establishing population
and distribution objectives, is
discussed later.) To be effective,
a monitoring plan must consider at
least 2 scales of resolution. At the
statewide scale, we propose tracking
changes in colony distribution,
species occurrence, and total size
(at a coarse scale) by periodic
surveys of the entire state.




















27 DEO. NORTH LAITTTUDE


A B C D E F G H


Figure 60.
1986-89 by


PENINSULAR FLORIDA
EAST OF OCHLOCKONEE RNER






SG 30 DEC. NORTH LATITUDE








S29 DEG. NORTH LATITUDE


28 DEC. NORTH LATITUDE


A B C D
SIZE CLASS


Distribution of colony size class for all species in 1976-78 and
latitude. Solid lines are 1976-78, dashed lines 1986-89. (For data


see Appendix C).


om C


26 DE.G NORTH LATITUDE
/ \


25 DEC. NORTH LATITUDE


24 DEG. NORTH LATITUDE


B












The rapid rate of change in colony
locations and frequent desertion of
colony sites are reflected in a
turnover rate of 46% during the
decade from 1978-1988 (Runde 1988).
This value suggests that in 10 yr
nearly half of the colony locations
currently on file will not be valid.
Thus, if we are to maintain an up-
to-date catalog of colony locations,
as is needed to protect nesting
habitat, periodic resurveys will be
needed more frequently. A reasonable
and workable interval seems to be 5
yr. As a complete statewide inven-
tory requires 2 breeding seasons
(roughly March through June), this
would entail conducting surveys
again in 1994 and 1995. To ade-
quately survey spoonbill and cattle
egret populations, we would need to
add surveys in December-January and
in July.
Results of the recent inventory
provide a basis upon which to allo-
cate future efforts. Seventy-five %
of all colonies located were south
of 29 degrees, thus future invento-
ries of south and central Florida
should maintain the survey intensity
as in the present survey. Aerial
transects should be spaced 5 km
apart, or less in areas of poor
visibility (i.e., Big Cypress).
However, by increasing transect
spacing to 10 km north of 29
degrees, we can greatly reduce the
time and money spent on future sur-
veys, since the number of very long
transects across north Florida's
Panhandle would be cut in half. Such
an approach should include aerial
searches for historic colonies not
detected from the transects. This
will provide a periodic update of
colony status and location for both
historic and newly formed colonies
across the entire state. To monitor
species occurrences and relative
abundances at this scale of resolu-
tion will require using helicopters
to revisit active colonies to com-


pile species lists and estimate
numbers.
Because of the limited accuracy of
numerical estimates of species abun-
dances in wading bird colonies sur-
veyed only once or twice in a breed-
ing season from aircraft, statewide
monitoring needs to be supplemented
by additional data if we are to mon-
itor change in sizes of breeding
populations. However, it is clear
that we cannot adequately monitor
numbers of up to 14 species at each
of >600 colonies. Rather, we will
need to limit our efforts to select-
ed species (e.g., listed and declin-
ing birds) in "important" colonies.

Colony Rankings

Intuitively, a colony of wading
birds is of relatively great impor-
tance to maintaining regional popu-
lations if it is large and supports
many species, including those vul-
nerable to extirpation and/or known
to be declining. Furthermore, stable
colonies with a long tradition of
use are important to maintaining
populations over time; especially if
they remained active during periods
of drought as experienced during the
late-1980s. So, in our judgement, a
diverse colony (e.g., >10 species)
supporting a total of >1,000 peli-
cans, reddish egrets, roseate spoon-
bills, or wood storks that has been
active for over a decade deserves
more attention than a small ephemer-
al colony of great blue herons, or a
large colony of cattle egrets. On
this basis, we devised a method to
numerically score and rank colonies
loosely based on an approach used to
assess relative importance of sea-
bird colonies in Great Britain
(Lloyd 1984).
Our ranking scheme is based upon 4
variables (Appendix F). First is
colony size class. Here we used the
largest estimate of size obtained
during surveys conducted from 1986-












89. Second is species richness. Here
the score was simply the highest
number of identified species, re-
gardless of the survey method used.
(This tends to increase the rank of
colonies which were visited on the
ground or from a helicopter, as
these survey methods yield the most
accurate and complete species
lists.) Next, the relative vulnera-
bility of the species present is
taken into account. Here we averaged
the biological scores (Millsap et
al. 1990) of species detected.
Again, the highest score obtained
from any visit was used to calculate
the total score used for ranking.
Finally, colonies with a long histo-
ry received more weight than colo-
nies which had formed only recently.
Colonies identified during the sur-
veys of 1976-78, or known to be
active during the late-1970s or
early 1980s (NAS unpubl. data) and
which were still active during our
surveys, received the most points
here. This emphasizes the importance
of well-known historic colonies and
de-emphasizes colonies in the Pan-
handle (which was not previously
surveyed) and those which were pre-
viously unknown or formed recently.
Thus, the total score for a colony
is the sum of: (1) the number of
species identified; plus (2) the
average biological score of those
species; plus (3) points assigned to
the different size classes; and
finally (4) 10 points were added for
historic colonies and 5 points for
recently formed colonies. In all
cases, the highest score for each
variable obtained from any visit was
used to calculate total score. The
top 100 colonies identified (Fig.
61) provide a basis for selecting
colonies for detailed monitoring of
changes in species abundance. Sever-
al of the top-ranked colonies are
presently monitored (e.g., Tampa Bay
colonies are monitored by Audubon
staff, Cedar Key colonies by Nation-


al Wildlife Refuge staff, Merritt
Island colonies by contract with
Bionetics Corp.). Final selection of
colonies to be monitored by Section
staff will be based on access and
ability to readily obtain accurate
counts for several species with high
biological scores, with a minimum of
disturbance. At least 5 colonies in
each Commission region should be
monitored annually. Colonies may be
selected from the lists in Appendi-
ces G or H). Due to the highly
variable nature of the physical
setting and habitat in and around
wading bird colonies, individual
monitoring plans will need to be
devised for each colony selected.
While data from different colonies
may not be strictly comparable,
written plans filed to ensure con-
sistency of methods from year to
year will help to ensure that trends
over time at individual colonies are
meaningful. This approach will allow
us to document population changes at
a local level and to identify de-
clining species in need of research
or management attention. Each colo-
ny will need to be visited at least
twice during the breeding season,
with visits timed to account for
changes in relative abundances of
the different species present. To
provide valid inferences regarding
population trends, future counts at
this scale of resolution must be de-
signed to provide statistical esti-
mates of numbers of breeding pairs.
In addition, incidental data on
breeding success should be docu-
mented at each selected colony, and
attempts to quantify reproductive
success of vulnerable and declining
species should be made whenever
possible.





































Figure 61. Locations of top 100 ranked wading bird colonies in Flori-
da, 1986-89. (For data see Appendix G.)


Establishing Distribution and
Population Objectives

Another objective identified for
wading birds includes establishing
population and distribution objec-
tives by 1992-93. Towards this end,
we propose the following approach.
First, verify the county distribu-
tion of the following species whose
county distribution appears to have
declined: white ibis, snowy egret,
tricolored heron, glossy ibis, and
roseate spoonbill. This may be easi-
ly accomplished by examination of
the results of the Breeding Bird
Atlas, but may require well targeted
aerial surveys aimed at disproving
the apparent absence of a species in
a particular county (Table 3a and
b). For example, re-survey colonies
in Dade and St. Lucie counties to
determine if, in fact, brown peli-
cans no longer breed there. Or sur-
vey colonies in Charlotte, Citrus,


Collier, Dade, Manatee, and
Okeechobee counties to determine if
glossy ibis are in fact absent.
A similar approach could be taken
on a county-by-county basis for
counties which appear to have lost
species. For example, Highlands and
St. Lucie counties appear to have
lost 3 species (Table 4) and could
be resurveyed to determine if this
is correct.
Establishing population objectives
is more difficult, and perhaps the
place to start is to develop mean-
ingful statewide monitoring plans
for listed or vulnerable species.
Data on hand today suggest declines
in most wading birds except brown
pelicans, reddish egrets, great blue
herons and anhingas. Currently, sur-
veys are underway to determine the
present status of the wood stork,
and Commission input will be needed
if this work is to result in mean-
ingful population estimates.












Further management-oriented re-
search may be needed to develop
strategies to recover populations of
snowy and great egrets, tricolored
and little blue herons, and white
ibis. The most fruitful approach
will be to apply and test active
management to protect and improve
foraging habitat. One clear trend in
nesting wading bird populations is
the decline in numbers of large
diverse colonies. To encourage the
maintenance or recovery of such
colonies will require aggressive
protection or active management of
wetlands in and around colony sites
which formerly or presently sup-
port(ed) large colonies. To deter-
mine if such strategies are effec-
tive, colonies selected for manage-
ment attention should also be moni-
tored closely and results compared
with nearby control colonies.

LITERATURE CITED

Burger, J. 1978. The pattern and
mechanism of nesting in mixed-spe-
cies heronries. Pages 45-58 in
Sprunt et al. (eds.). Wading
Birds. Natl. Audubon Soc. Res.
Rep. No. 7. New York. 381pp.

DeLorme Publishing Company. 1986.
Florida Atlas and Gazetteer. Free-
port, Me. 128pp.

Edelson, N. A., and M. W. Collopy.
1990. Foraging ecology of wading
birds using an altered landscape
in central Florida. Fla. Inst. of
Phosphate Res. Publ. No. 04-039-
087. Bartow, Fla. 91pp.

Erwin, R. M. 1982. Observer
variability in estimating numbers:
an experiment. J. Field Ornithol.
53:159-167.

S1985. Monitoring colonial
waterbird populations in the
Northeast: historical and future


perspectives. Pages 96-107 in M.
Sayre (ed.) Trans. 1984 Northeast
Fish & Wildl. Conf. Ocean City
Ma., May 13-16.

P. H. Geissler, M. L.
Shaffer, and D. A. McCrimmon.
1984. Colonial bird monitoring: a
strategy for regional and national
evaluation. Pages 342-357 in W. C.
McComb (ed.) Proc. workshop man-
agement of nongame species and
ecological communities. June 11-
12, 1984, Lexington, Ky. 404pp.

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission. 1988. A strategic plan
for the comprehensive management
of Florida's wildlife and freshwa-
ter fish: 1988-1993. Third Ed.
80pp. Tallahassee.

Frederick, P. C., and M. W.
Collopy. 1988. Reproductive ecol-
ogy of wading birds in relation to
water conditions in the Florida
Everglades. Fla. Coop. Fish and
Wildl. Res. Unit, Sch. For.
Resour. and Conserv., Univ. Flor-
ida. Tech. Rep. 30. 259pp.

Frohring, P. C., D. P. Voorhees,
and J. A. Kushlan. 1988. History
of wading bird populations in the
Florida Everglades: a lesson in
the use of historical information.
Colonial Waterbirds 11(2):328-335.

King, K. A. 1978. Colonial wading
bird survey and census techniques.
Pages 155-159 in Sprunt et al.
(eds.). Wading Birds. Natl.
Audubon Soc. Res. Rep. No. 7. New
York. 381pp.

Kushlan, J. A. 1979. Effects of
helicopter censuses on wading bird
colonies. J. Wildl. Manage.
43:756-760.












Kushlan, J. A. 1985. Review:
Florida atlas of breeding sites
for herons and their allies: 1976
-78. Fla. Field Natl. 13:70-71.

Kushlan, J. A., and P. C. Frohring.
1986. The history of the southern
Florida wood stork population.
Wilson Bull. 98:368-386.

Lloyd, C. S. 1984. A method for
assessing the relative importance
of seabird breeding colonies.
Biol. Conserv. 28:155-172.

McVaugh, W. Jr. 1972. The devel-
opment of four North American her-
ons. I. Living Bird 11:155-173.

1975. The development of
four North American herons. II.
Living Bird 14:163-183.

Millsap, B. A., J. A. Gore, D. E.
Runde and S. I. Cerulean. 1990.
Setting priorities for the conser-
vation of fish and wildlife spe-
cies in Florida. Wildl. Monog.
111:1-57.

Nesbitt, S. A. 1989. Eastern brown
pelican population monitoring.
Annual Performance Rep. Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commis-
sion, Tallahassee.

1991. Florida's flourishing
brown pelican population: can it
last? Fla. Wild. March-April
1991:32.

J. C. Ogden, H. W. Kale, II,
B. W. Patty, and L. A. Rouse.
1982. Florida atlas of breeding
sites for herons and their allies:
1976-78. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv.,
OBS-81/49. 49pp.

Ogden, J. C. 1978. Recent popu-
lation trends of colonial wading
birds on the Atlantic and Gulf
coastal plains. Pages 137-153 in


Sprunt et al. (eds.). Wading
Birds. Natl. Audubon Soc. Res.
Rep. No. 7. New York. 381pp.

and S. A. Nesbitt. 1979.
Recent wood stork population
trends in the United States. Wil-
son Bull. 91:512-523.

D. A. McCrimmon, Jr., G. T.
Bancroft, and B. W. Patty. 1987.
Breeding populations of the wood
stork in the southeastern United
States. Condor 89:752-759.

Powell, G. V. N., R. D. Bjork, J.
C. Ogden, R. T. Paul, A. H.
Powell, and W. B. Robertson, Jr.
1989. Population trends in some
Florida Bay wading birds. Wilson
Bull. 101:436-457.

Runde, D. E. 1987. Nesting biology
of wading birds. Unpubl. Rep. Fla.
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commis-
sion, Nongame Wildlife Section,
Tallahassee.

S1988. Colonial wading bird
survey: Annual performance report.
Unpubl. Rep. Fla. Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission, Nongame
Wildlife Section, Tallahassee.

J. A. Gore, J. A. Hovis,
M.S. Robson, and P. D. Southall.
1991. Florida atlas of breeding
sites for herons and their allies:
1986-89 update. Fla. Game and
Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tal-
lahassee. Nongame Wildlife Pro-
gram Tech. Rep. No. 10.

Smith, R. B. and D. R. Breininger.
1988. Northern breeding range ex-
tension for the roseate spoonbill
in Florida. Fla. Field Natl.
16:65-67.










80

Appendix A. Key to species abbreviations and abundance codes.

Species Abbreviations

BRPE Brown pelican
DCCO = Double-crested cormorant
ANHI = Anhinga
GBHE = Great blue heron
GREG Great egret
SNEG = Snowy egret
LBHE Little blue heron
TCHE = Tricolored heron
REEG = Reddish egret
CAEG = Cattle egret
GLIB = Glossy ibis
WHIB White ibis
ROSP = Roseate spoonbill
WOST Wood stork

Abundance Codes


A 1-9
B 10-99
C 100-249
D 250-499
X = No estimate


E = 500-749
F = 750-999
G = 1,000-3,000
H = >3000


Appendix B Latitudinal variation in numbers (%) of colonies*,
all sizes, east of the Ochlockonee River in Florida, 1976-78 and
1986-89.

Degrees north
latitude 1976-78 1986-89


24 24(07.0) 32(04.9)
25 47(13.6) 81(12.4)
26 61(17.7) 129(19.7)
27 82(23.8) 146(22.4)
28 78(22.6) 132(20.2)
29 28(08.1) 78(11.9)
30 25(07.2) 55(08.4)

TOTAL 345 653


aAll colonies located are


included here.












Appendix C. Distribution of size classes of colonies by latitude, east of the Ochlockonee River in
Florida, 1976-78 and 1986-89.



SIZE CLASS DISTRIBUTION ab
Degrees north 1976-78
Latitude A B C D E F G H E


24 2 12 4 4 2 0 0 0 24
8.3 50.0 16.7 16.7 8.3 0 0 0

25 3 17 10 7 2 2 6 0 47
6.4 36.2 21.3 14.9 4.3 4.3 12.8 0

26 0 22 11 5 3 2 13 3 59
0 37.3 18.6 8.5 5.1 3.4 22.0 5.1

27 4 13 6 10 6 3 25 11 78
5.1 16.7 7.7 12.8 7.7 3.8 32.1 14.1

28 0 15 8 13 9 4 23 3 75
0 20.0 10.7 17.3 12.0 5.3 30.7 4.0

29 1 4 6 5 4 0 3 3 26
3.8 15.4 23.1 19.2 15.4 0 11.5 11.5

30 0 4 7 3 3 3 4 1 25
0 16.0 28.0 12.0 12.0 12.0 16.0 4.0

TOTAL 10 87 52 47 29 14 74 21 334
TOTAL(X) 3.0 26.0 15.6 14.1 8.7 4.2 22.2 6.3



SIZE CLASS DISTRIBUTION *b
Degrees north 1986-89
Latitude A B C D E F G H E


24 5 11 5 1 2 0 0 0 24
20.8 45.9 20.8 4.2 8.3 0 0 0

25 14 42 6 6 3 1 7 0 79
17.7 53.2 7.6 7.6 3.8 1.3 8.9 0

26 8 54 28 12 7 1 9 4 123
6.5 43.9 22.8 9.8 5.7 0.8 7.3 3.3

27 21 38 23 8 10 9 20 12 141
14.9 27.0 16.3 5.7 7.1 6.4 14.2 8.5

28 6 27 21 20 14 8 25 4 126
4.8 21.4 16.7 15.9 11.1 6.3 19.8 3.2

29 1 13 17 11 15 3 10 4 74
1.4 17.6 23.0 14.9 20.3 4.1 13.5 5.4

30 2 18 9 11 4 4 6 0 54
3.7 33.3 16.7 20.4 7.4 7.4 11.1 0

TOTAL 57 203 109 69 55 26 77 24 620
TOTAL 9.2 32.7 17.6 11.1 8.9 4.2 12.4 3.9


Number of colonies (X)

b This includes only colonies where an estimate of size was available. See Appendix A for
definitions of abundance codes.










82

Appendix 0. Number of colonies (X) by degree of latitude for wading birds in peninsular Florida,
east of Ochlockonee River, 1976-78 and 1986-89 (includes colonies where a species was recorded as
present but no estimate of abundance was recorded).


Sample
Species size 24


Brown pelican
1976-78 48 8(16.8)
1986-89 60 13(21.7)

Double-crested
cormorant
1976-76 77 19(24.7)
1986-89 106 11(10.3)

Anh inga
1976-78 69 0(00.0)
1986-89 190 0(00.0)

Great blue
heron
1976-78 173 21(12.2)
1986-89 296 14( 4.8)

Great egret
1976-78 228 10( 4.4)
1986-89 392 1( 0.2)

Snowy egret
1976-78 109 3( 2.8)
1986-89 123 1( 0.8)

Little blue
heron
1976-78 147 4( 2.8)
1986-89 248 0( 0.0)

Tricolored
heron
1976-78 121 4( 3.3)
1986-89 139 0(00.0)

Reddish egret
1976-78 10 2(20.0)
1986-89 11 0(00.0)

Cattle egret
1976-78 210 0(00.0)
1986-89 261 2( 0.8)

White ibis
1976-78 86 5( 5.8)
1986-89 100 1( 1.0)

Glossy ibis
1976-78 15 0(00.0)
1986-89 22 0(00.0)

Roseate spoonbill
1976-78 13 1( 7.7)
1986-89 11 1( 9.1)

Wood stork
1976-78 32 0(00.0)
1986-89 51 0(00.0)


Degrees of Latitude (N)
25 26 27 28 29 30



6(12.6) 11(23.1) 15(31.5) 5(10.5) 3( 6.3) 0(00.0)
7(11.7) 17(28.4) 13(21.7) 4( 6.7) 6(10.0) 0(00.0)


14(18.2)
3( 2.8)


7(10.2)
5( 2.6)



17( 9.9)
25( 8.5)


26(11.4)
48(12.5)


12(11.0)
14(11.3)


9(11.7)
16(15.0)


9(13.1)
30(15.9)



25(14.5)
59(20.1)


42(18.5)
83(21.6)


25(23.0)
17(13.8)


17(22.1)
37(34.8)


22(31.9)
56(29.7)


44(25.5)
101(34.3)


64(28.2)
96(25.0)


35(32.2)
37(30.0)


14(18.2)
26(24.4)


17(24.7)
57(30.2)



37(21.5)
50(17.0)


52(22.9)
83(21.6)


29(26.7)
36(29.2)


3( 3.9)
11(10.3)


10(14.5)
25(13.2)



15( 8.7)
27( 9.2)


15( 6.6)
44(11.4)


3( 2.8)
10( 8.1)


1( 1.3)
2( 1.9)


4( 5.8)
17( 9.0)



14( 8.1)
20( 6.8)


19( 8.4)
37( 9.6)


2( 1.8)
8( 6.5)


21(14.5) 32(22.1) 34(23.5) 37(25.5) 10( 6.9) 9( 6.2)
26(10.4) 45(18.0) 55(22.0) 54(21.6) 44(17.6) 24( 9.6)


23(19.1)
30(21.6)


5(50.0)
1( 9.1)


16( 7.7)
2( 0.8)


9(10.4)
12(12.0)


1( 6.7)
0(00.0)


11(84.6)
5(45.5)


4(12.5)
4( 7.8)


24(19.9)
35(25.2)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


35(16.8)
36(13.7)


12(13.9)
13(13.0)


2(13.3)
3(13.6)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


3( 9.4)
7(13.7)


28(23.2)
37(26.6)


2(20.0)
6(54.5)


62(29.8)
62(23.6)


25(29.0)
27(27.0)


7(46.7)
9(40.9)


1( 7.7)
2(18.2)


9(28.2)
10(19.6)


32(26.6)
24(17.3)


1( 1.0)
3(27.3)


57(27.4)
77(29.3)


22(25.5)
30(30.0)


5(33.3)
9(40.9)


0(00.0)
3(27.3)


10(31.3)
16(31.4)


7( 5.8)
9( 6.5)


0(00.0)
1( 9.1)


21(10.1)
57(21.7)


6( 7.0)
11(11.0)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


2( 6.3)
7(13.7)


3( 2.5)
4( 2.9)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


19( 9.1)
25( 9.5)


7( 8.1)
6( 6.0)


0(00.0)
1( 4.5)


0(00.0)
0(00.0)


4(12.5)
7(13.7)













Appendix E. Frequency (%) distribution of size classes for 11 selected
species of wading birds in peninsular Florida, east of Ochlockonee River,
1976-78 and 1986-89 (colonies where a species was recorded as present but
no estimate of abundance was recorded are omitted here).


Number of
Species colonies A' B C D E F G H


0.0 28.9 18.4 10.5 18.4 7.9 15.8 0.0
16.4 25.5 21.8 10.9 9.1 5.5 9.1 1.8



0.0 30.6 21.0 19.4 12.9 8.1 8.1 0.0
21.7 43.4 18.1 8.4 3.6 2.4 2.4 0.0


2.2 56.5 32.6 8.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
51.0 42.6 4.5 1.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0



8.9 55.0 12.4 1.5 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0
64.1 30.9 4.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0


2.4 36.1 32.2 21.2 8.7 1.4 2.9 0.0
24.1 52.6 16.8 3.4 2.1 0.5 0.5 0.0


in
38
55

ed

62
83


46
155



158
304


208
382


70
99



97
201


Brown pelica
1976-78
1986-89

Double-crest
cormorant
1976-76
1986-89

Anhinga
1976-78
1986-89

Great blue
heron
1976-78
1986-89

Great egret
1976-78
1986-89

Snowy egret
1976-78
1986-89

Little blue
heron
1976-78
1986-89

Tricolored
heron
1976-78
1986-89

Cattle egret
1976-78
1986-89

White ibis
1976-78
1986-89

Wood stork
1976-78
1986-89


74 5.4 33.8 27.0 12.2 8.1 5.4 8.1 0.0
112 36.6 47.3 3.6 3.6 6.3 0.9 1.8 0.0


202 0.0 3.0 13.4 12.4 8.4 4.5 29.2 29.2
256 3.1 20.7 23.8 21.1 9.8 9.0 9.4 3.1


68 7.4 7.4 22.1 14.7 8.8 0.0 22.1 17.6
72 22.2 30.6 8.3 9.7 5.6 2.8 12.5 8.3


32 3.1 31.3 12.5 15.6 12.5 9.4 12.5 3.1
47 14.9 36.2 34.0 8.5 2.1 0.0 4.3 0.0


A for definitions of abundance codes.


7.1 25.7 27.1 14.3 8.6 2.9
35.4 42.4 12.1 6.1 1.0 1.0



8.2 43.3 35.1 8.2 4.1 0.0
26.4 61.2 8.5 2.0 0.5 0.0


12.9 1.4
2.0 0.0



1.0 0.0
0.5 0.0


" See Appendix












Appendix F. Variables and scores used to rank wading bird colonies in Florida, 1986-89.



Variables and categories Points assigned


Colony size class

< 100 0
100-499 4
500-1,000 6
>1,000 10
No estimate 5

Species Richness 1-14

Biological score"

Brown Pelican 24
Double-crested cormorant 11
Anhinga 17
Great blue heron 15
Great egret 19
Snowy egret 17
Little blue heron 23
Tricolored heron 17
Reddish egret 25
Cattle egret 8
White ibis 13
Glossy ibis 15
Roseate spoonbill 25
Wood stork 23

Colony history

Colony located in previous surveys 10
Colony located in present survey 5


"Millsap et at. (1990). Score used is average

bNesbitt et at. (1982), or unpubl. data N.A.S.


for species detected.













Appendix G. Locations of top 100 ranked wading bird colonies in Florida, 1986-89.


Atlas Total Town-
County no. Colony name score ship Range Section


GFC Region 1


Charlotte
Charlotte
Hardee
Hardee
Hernando
Highlands

Highlands
HiLlsborough
Hi lsborough
HiLLsborough

Hillsborough
Lee

Lee
Lee
Lee
Lee
Lee
Lee

Lee
Lee
Lee
Manatee

Manatee
Pasco
Pasco
Pinellas
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Polk
Sarasota
Sarasota

GFC Region 2

Alachua
Alachua
Alachua
Columbia
Gilchrist
Hamilton

Lafayette
Levy
Madison

GFC Region 3

Calhoun
Holmes
Leon


619012
619015
616016
615006
611010
616020

616017
611163
611164
615007

615133
619041

619040
615012
615022
615016
615013
615020

615019
619038B
619038C
615027

615023
611149
611024
615031
612046
612137
612106
612045
612048
616036
616129
616037
616101
616041
616133
616042
615044
615041



605011
605001
605004
593101
605017
593113

605101
605019
593125



592137
592106
592003


Shell Creek Mouth
Tucker's Corner
El Claire Ranch
Curtis Road
East of Brooksville
Lake Istokpoga -
Bumblebee Island
Bootheet Creek
Lower Hillsborough River
Clay Gulley
Alafia (Bird & Sunken
Islands)
Welcome Station
Midway Island
(Caloosahatchee NWR)
Fort Myers Power Plant
Broken Islands
Useppa Bird Island
Hemp Key
Cork Key
Sanibel Road (Matlacha
Pass)
The Rocks Lake
Estero Bay (B1)
Estero Bay (C)
Terra Ceia Bay (Bird
Island)
Cortez
San Antonio II
Little Gator Creek
Tarpon Key
Northeast of Lakeland
North of Lake Parker
Saddle Creek Mine
Lake Hamilton
Reedy Creek
Lake Hancock
West of Homeland
Lake Rosalie
Bradley Junction
Southwest of Homeland
North of Whidden Creek
Widden Creek
Roberts Bay
Osprey


River Styx


37.50 40S 23E 26NW
37.67 42S 25E 1SW
42.25 34S 27E 21SW
43.13 36S 23E 7
37.50 22S 20E 30
40.75 36S 30E 13

40.25 38S 29E 15SE
38.00 27S 20E 31SW
38.11 27S 20E 18
52.53 30S 19E 28N

37.63 30S 22E 21
39.00 42S 25E 32E

37.80 43S 25E 26SE
41.00 44S 21E 3NE
45.00 44S 21E 17
42.75 44S 22E 31NW
40.00 45S 22E
39.00 45S 22E 13NW

45.00- 46S 22E 33
40.00 46S 24E 34SE
37.80 47S 25E 19S
50.87- 34S 17E 4

42.50 35S 16E 3SE
39.00 25S 20E 9NW
42.25 25S 22E 24NW
47.88- 32S 16E
40.60 27S 24E 23
38.50 27S 24E
40.30 27S 25E 18W
43.00 28S 27E 18SE
38.00 28S 29E 1
40.30 29S 25E 6NW
39.13 30S 25E 31SW
38.00 30S 29E 4NE
38.13 31S 23E 15S
41.50 31S 25E 5SW
40.09 32S 24E 2SW
42.71 32S 25E 9SW
38.33 37S 18E 6W
41.90 37S 18E 28S



38.00 11S 21E 11W


Bird Island (Orange Lake) 42.17 12S 21E 22
LaCrosse (Prairie Lake) 38.33 8S 19E 12SW
Falling Creek 38.50 3S 16E 1SE
McCain Lake 38.00 10S 16E 33S
Pond 12 (Occidental 38.14 1S 16E 6N
Phosphate)
Branford I 37.83 6S 14E 33SW
Cedar Keys 43.43 16S 12E
Hundred Acre Pond 39.00 1N 8E 4SW


North of Blountstown
Triple C Ranch
West of Lake Jackson


38.57 1N 8W 21SE
38.00 5N 14W 28SE
37.50 2N 2W 25E


0












Appendix G. Continued.


GFC Region 4

Broward
Broward
ColLier
Collier
Collier
Collier
Collier
Dade
Dade
Indian River
Indian River
Indian River
Indian River
Martin
Martin
Monroe
Monroe
Monroe
Monroe
Monroe
Monroe
Palm Beach

St. Lucie
St. Lucie
St. Lucie
St. Lucie
St. Lucie

GFC Region 5

Brevard
Brevard
Brevard
Brevard

Brevard
Citrus
Citrus
Citrus
Citrus
Lake
Lake
Lake
Lake
Lake
Orange
Orange
Osceola
Volusia
Volusia
Volusia


619164
619006
619018
619030
619017
619024
620022
620117
620020
616002
616007
616023
616008
616006
616009
620051
620011
620009
620019
620015
620016
619139

616044
616003
616049
616047A
616047B



612004
612147
612003
612002

612012
611005
611001
611008
611131
612023
612025
612027
612026
612021
612035
612037
616032
606002A
606001
612001


Alley North
Andytown East
Corkscrew
SunniLand
Camp Keais
Okaloacoochee South
Marco ABC
L-67
West Arsenicker Key
Duck Point Spoil
Pelican Island
St. John's Reservoir
Riomar Spoil
Palm City
Sewall Point East
Rogers River Bay
Lane River Rookery
Frank Key
Tern Key
Porjoe Key
Sandy Key
Loxahatchee NWR 5 Palm
Beach
Bel-Air
Ft. Pierce Spoil
Okeechobee Road
Cypress Creek I
Cypress Creek II



Haulover Canal
Bluebill Creek Colony
Hall Island
Buck Point George and
Brady Islands
Lake Saugrass
Mangrove Point
Crystal Bay
St. Martin's Islands
Moon Lake
Mouth of Haines Creek
Lake Griffin Northeast
Lake Yale
Lake Griffin South
Gourd Neck
Gator Island
Lake Mary Jane
Rabbit Island
Port Orange I
New Smyrna Beach
Mosquito Lagoon (Bird
Island)


39.56
41.00
44.00
39.67
39.67
41.00
40.00
39.63
40.60
42.22
39.40
37.67
49.33
42.17
37.50
42.80
43.00
44.17
40.00
39.29
40.00
40.00

40.75
46.40
38.00
38.00
42.17



46.50
39.09
40.60
44.00

41.83
47.30
39.00
43.67
38.43
41.00
39.67
38.00
39.67
45.00
37.88
40.14
42.43
37.50
44.00
43.50


49S 38E 14N
50S 38E 12
475 27E 9
48S 29E 34NE
48S 29E 6SW
48S 30E 25NW
52S 26E 9NE
52S 38E
58S 40E 2SE
31S 39E 16
31S 39E 9
33S 37E 18
33S 40E 6
38S 41E 17
38S 42E 6SW
56S 33E 29
59S 34E 14
61S 34E
61S 38E
61S 39E
62S 33E
46S 41E 27

34S 38E 15NE
34S 40E 34SE
36S 37E 3
37S 37E 3N
37S 37E 2SW



20S 35E 25
22S 37E
24S 37E 27N
25S 37E 20W

28S 35E 1
18S 15E
18S 16E 28
19S 15E 24
20S 20E 35NE
18S 25E 29SE
18S 25E 17
18S 26E 15SE
19S 24E 17
22S 26E 14SE
22S 27E 11SE
24S 31E 23SE
29S 31E 19SE
16S 33E 2
17S 34E 17
19S 35E













Appendix H. Scores and locations of top 20 ranked wading bird colonies in each GFC Region in
Florida, 1986-89.


County Atlas Colony name Total Town
no. score ship Range Section


GFC Region 1


Hillsborough

Manatee

Pinellas
Lee
Lee
Hardee
Polk
Lee
Polk
Manatee
Hardee
Pasco
Sarasota
Polk
Lee
Highlands

Polk
Polk
Polk
Highlands

GFC Region 2

Levy
Alachua
Madison
Columbia
Alachua
Hamilton

Alachua
Gi christ
Lafayette
Alachua

Duval
Levy
Alachua
Dixie
Alachua
Alachua
Alachua
Levy
Duval
Nassau

GFC Region 3

Calhoun
Holmes
Leon
Washington
Leon
Jackson
Walton
Wakulla
Bay
Gulf
Jackson
Calhoun


615007-

615027

615031
615022
615019
615006
612045
615016
616042
615023
616016
611024
615041
616041
615012
616020

612046
616036
612106
616017



605019
605001
593125
593101
605004
593113

605011
605017
605101
605126

594004
605021
605006
605014
605008
605010
605118
605020
594005
594103



592137
592106
592003
592120
592001
592110
592103
592141
592140
604102
592116
592102


ALafia (Bird & Sunken
Islands)
Terra Ceia Bay (Bird
Island)
Tarpon Key
Useppa Bird Island
The Rocks Lake
Curtis Road
Lake Hamilton
Hemp Key
Widden Creek
Cortez
El Claire Ranch
Little Gator Creek
Osprey
Southwest of Homeland
Broken Islands
Lake Istokpoga -
Bumblebee Island
Northeast of Lakeland
Lake Hancock
Saddle Creek Mine
Bootheel Creek


52.53 30S

50.87- 34S

47.88- 32S
45.00- 44S
45.00- 46S
43.13 36S
43.00 28S
42.75 44S
42.71 32S
42.50 35S
42.25 34S
42.25 25S
41.90 37S
41.50 31S
41.00 44S
40.75 36S

40.60 27S
40.30 29S
40.30 27S
40.25 38S


Cedar Keys 4343) 16S
Bird Island (Orange Lake) .t 12S
Hundred Acre Pond 39.00 1N
Falling Creek 38.50 3S
LaCrosse (Prairie Lake) 38.33 8S
Pond 12 (Occidental 38.14 15
Phosphate)
River Styx 38.00 11S
McCain Lake 38.00 10S
Branford I 37.83 6S
Redbird Island (Orange 37.17 12S
Lake)
Dee Dot Ranch 37.00 3S
Lake Rousseau 36.75 17S
Newnans Lake South 36.00 10S
Pumpkin Swamp 34.75 9S
Paines Prairie Dikes 34.60 10S
Paines Prairie South 34.00 11S
North of Hogtown Prairie 34.00 9S
Gulf Hammock 34.00 14S
Fort Caroline 33.67 1S
Nassauville 33.50 2N


North of Blountstown
Triple C Ranch
West of Lake Jackson
Southeast of Caryville
Chaires
Lake Seminole I
Southwest of Bruce I
East River Pool
Audubon Island
M-K Ranch
Courtneys Old Bay
Northwest Dead Lake


38.57
38.00
37.50
36.00
34.25
32.50
32.00
31.67
31.50
31.50
31.50
31.33


1'7


19E 28N

17E 4

16E
21E 17
22E 33
23E 7
27E 18SE
22E 31NW
25E 9SW
16E 3SE
27E 21SU
22E 24NW
18E 28S
25E 5SW
21E 3NE
30E 13

24E 23
25E 6NW
25E 18W
29E 15SE



12E
21E 22
8E 4SW
16E 1SE
19E 12SW
16E 6N

21E 11W
16E 33S
14E 33SW
21E 14

28E 24
17E 3W
21E 20N
11E 10SW
20E 27S
20E 9NE
19E 4SE
15E 2SW
28E 34
27E



8W 21SE
14W 28SE
2W 25E
16W 14NE
2E 4
8W 12
17W 6
2E 17SE
15W 34SW
8W 19
13W 31NW
10W 24


' .L t ( 7












Appendix H. Continued


GFC Region 3 (Continued)


Walton
Jefferson
Gadsden
Leon
Washington
Jackson
Jackson
Wakutta


GFC Region 4

Indian River
St. Lucie
Monroe
Collier
Monroe
Monroe
Indian River
Martin
St. Lucie
Broward
Collier
St. Lucie
Dade
Collier
Monroe
Monroe
Palm Beach

Collier
Collier
Dade

GFC Region 5

Citrus
Brevard
Lake
Brevard

Volusia
Citrus
Volusia

Osceola
Brevard
Lake
Brevard
Orange
Lake
Lake
Brevard
Citrus
Citrus
Lake
Orange
Volusia


591107
593126
592131
592128
592104
592113
592111
592144



616008
616003
620009
619018
620011
620051
616002
616006
616047B
619006
619024
616044
620020
620022
620016
620019
619139

619030
619017
620117



611005
612004
612021
612002

606001
611008
612001

616032
612012
612023
612003
612037
612025
612026
612147
611001
611131
612027
612035
606002A


Southwest of Gordon
West of Aucilla
Flat Creek West
Foshalee Lake
Field Bay
Spring Branch
Lake Seminole II
Palmetto Island



Riomar Spoil
Ft. Pierce Spoil
Frank Key
Corkscrew
Lane River Rookery
Rogers River Bay
Duck Point Spoil
Palm City
Cypress Creek II
Andytown East
Okaloacoochee South
Bet-Air
West Arsenicker Key
Marco ABC
Sandy Key
Tern Key
Loxahatchee NWR 5 Palm
Beach
Sunniland
Camp Keais
L-67



Mangrove Point
Haulover Canal
Gourd Neck
Buck Point George and
Brady Islands
New Smyrna Beach
St. Martin's Islands
Mosquito Lagoon (Bird
Island)
Rabbit Island
Lake Sawgrass
Mouth of Haines Creek
Hall Island
Lake Mary Jane
Lake Griffin Northeast
Lake Griffin South
Bluebill Creek Colony
Crystal Bay
Moon Lake
Lake Yale
Gator Island
Port Orange I


30.67
30.00
29.75
29.75
29.75
29.25
29.00
28.75


5N 20W 31SW
1N 5E 15SE
3N 6W 28
3N 2E 26NW
3N 15W 7NW
6N 11W 17
6N 8W 1NW
5S 1W


49.33- 33S 40E 6
46.40 34S 40E 34SE
44.17- 61S 34E
44.00 47S 27E 9
43.00 59S 34E 14
42.80 56S 33E 29
42.22 31S 39E 16
42.17 38S 41E 17
42.17 37S 37E 2SW
41.00 50S 38E 12
41.00 48S 30E 25NW
40.75 34S 38E 15NE
40.60 58S 40E 2SE
40.00 52S 26E 9NE
40.00 62S 33E
40.00 615 38E
40.00 46S 41E 27

39.67 48S 29E 34NE
39.67 48S 29E 6SW
39.63 52S 38E



47.30, 18S 15E
46.50- 20S 35E 25
45.00- 22S 26E 14SE
44.00 \ 25S 37E 20W

44.00 \ 17S 34E 17
43.67 19S 15E 24
43.50 19S 35E

42.43 29S 31E 19SE
41.83 28S 35E 1
41.00 18S 25E 29SE
40.60 24S 37E 27N
40.14 24S 31E 23SE
39.67 18S 25E 17
39.67 19S 24E 17
39.09 22S 37E
39.00 18S 16E 28
38.43 20S 20E 35NE
38.00 18S 26E 15SE
37.88 22S 27E 11SE
37.50 16S 33E 2




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