Sundown Island Sanctuary is a low-lying seventy-acre island built from dredge spoils in 1962. It is located near where the Matagorda ship channel and the Gulf Intra-coastal Waterway cross in Matagorda Bay, east of Port O'Connor and southeast of Port Lavaca, in the Texas coastal bend. The Island is leased from the General Land Office and managed by the Audubon Texas Coastal Sanctuaries program, as part of the Society's 13,000-acre network of islands.

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Ornithological Summary

The island is a breeding colony for 18 species of birds, including endangered Brown Pelican, and one of the largest colonies of threatened Reddish Egret on Texas Coast. In 2003, 15,000 pairs of breeding birds were found on the island. The eastern side of the island is characterized by a large sandy beach and is a breeding territory for Black Skimmers, Royal, Caspian, and Sandwich Terns.

Conservation Issues

Susceptible to frequent human disturbance, erosion, and tropical storm surge.


Owned by Texas General Land Office. Leased by Audubon Texas for management as a colonial waterbird sanctuary.


70 acre island formed by dredge material, primarily sand. Majority of the island is covered by woody shrubs and trees, herbaceous vegetation, and about one third of the island is bare sand habitat for numerous ground-nesters.

Land Use

Managed and protected by Audubon Texas as a colonial waterbird nesting island and bird sanctuary.

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