Magnificent Frigates

July through September

Magnificent Frigatebirds nest throughout the tropics of the Atlantic-Caribbean region. The nearest and only North American colony is on Florida’s Marguesas Key.Magnificent Frigatebirds disperse from breeding colonies as soon as nestlings can fly. Birds begin arriving along Louisiana’s coast and offshore waters in April and numbers increase throughout the summer. A large summering concentration is present on New Harbor Island in the southern Chandeleur chain. Here eight hundred or more birds can be seen resting in mangroves or flying overhead. These birds filter out from there where they can be seen in the air near the Mississippi Delta on Barataria Loop 10between Empire and Venice. Frigatebirds rarely venture inland. However, they will crisscross relatively narrow sections of land such as the Mississippi Delta south of Empire where they short cut between Breton Sound, where the Chandeleur Islands are located, and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Probably the most consistent site to see frigatebirds from land is on Grand Isle ( Loop 9). They can be seen offshore following shrimp boats, cruising along the beaches, and sometimes short cutting over the island between Barataria Bay and the open Gulf. Frigates may be blown well-inland by tropical storms or hurricanes where they have been seen flying over inland lakes and even roosting on buildings in downtown New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

   
   
photo credit/caption:U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by F. Kirdler