Near Marco Island in southwestern Collier County
Three small mangrove islands in the Gulf of Mexico. The islands are designated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Critical Wildlife Area and are monitored by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
This IBA has significant populations of Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species; significant numbers of wading birds; and long-term research.
Ownership: State of Florida
The islands support significant breeding populations of Brown Pelicans and wading birds, and also contain a regular roost for Magnificent Frigatebirds and wading birds. Between 1974 and 1997, Ted Below conducted 705 dusk roost counts of the islands, and continues to monitor the rookery. Only a rudimentary bird list is available.
The islands are designated as a Critical Wildlife Area to protect the rookery, but there is no known management plan, and disturbance from boaters and fishermen is severe. Operators of tour boats, including 30-passenger airboats, disturb the birds in order to give a ?good show;? airboats have actually blown into the rookery to cause the birds to take flight. ? Fishermen anchor near shore and often leave fishing line in the mangroves.