What exactly is a rookery? It’s a colony of breeding animals, usually a colony of birds. Rookeries are places where many birds gather together to nest and, often, includes a wide variety of different nesting species. In Florida, the coastal mangrove trees are a popular site for rookeries for birds such as herons, egrets, storks, and spoonbills. But not just any trees will do – these birds know that their eggs can be tasty treats for predators like raccoons that can easily climb into the trees and raid their nests. To avoid the animals that would like to eat their eggs and hatchlings, wading birds will often choose isolated mangrove islands as their nesting sites. These places are generally surrounded by water and far enough from the mainland to prevent too much predation.
In Manatee County, many of our small mangrove islands have become favorite places for humans too. We “nest” on them ourselves and build our homes there. To increase the amount of suitable land for rookery sites, the County plans to create a small island at Perico. Centrally located, the landform would prevent raccoon visitors and serve as a safe place for coastal birds to nest.
The challenge at this cache is to test your bird knowledge! You will find out whether you are truly a “bird brain.” Inside the cache, you will find the Bird Brain Trivia quiz. Anyone can claim this cache, but to be eligible for the Taking Flight Geo Tag, answer the 10 question quiz and write down the number of answers you got correct and your level of Bird Brain in your passport.
Don’t forget to sign the log book!
Visit the sites along the Taking Flight GeoTour (TFGT) and learn about Manatee County’s wild spaces and the amazing feathered friends that live in them. Along the way, you will be challenged to become a citizen scientist, a preserve ranger, a detective, a historian, and of course an excellent geocacher in order to find all of the caches in the trail. Caches are located in birding “hot spots” throughout Manatee County’s publicly accessible conservation preserves. Each one highlights a specific bird species or aspect of bird life providing you with opportunities to learn more about these creatures and what we can do to help them survive. Caches also focus on protecting the region's waterways, bays, and natural watersheds, and habitat areas for many of our area’s feathered fliers.
The Taking Flight GeoTour includes 15 caches within Manatee County. A custom Taking Flight Geo Tour trackable geo tag will be awarded to the first 300 geocachers, while supplies last, for locating at least 12 TFGT caches. To be eligible for the tag, geocachers must download a passport
from the TFGT Website or pick one up at the Manatee County Natural Parks & Natural Resources Department office at GT Bray Park 5502 33 rd
Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, FL., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Geocachers must log at least 12 finds, answer the question from each cache on their passport, and complete any additional requirements for specific caches (such as posting photos for earth caches). After finding a minimum of 12 caches, participants can have their passports validated in person or via mail at the Manatee County Natural Parks & Natural Resources Department office at GT Bray Park 5502 33 rd
Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, FL 34209, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. News and updates on tag availability and validation hours can be found online at the Parks & Natural Resources Department's website
Thank you for assisting with the Taking Flight GeoTour: