Stork watchers get their chance July 21

July 15, 2012 at 08:12 PM

RAMAH, La. (AP) — Birders and wildlife enthusiasts have a chance to view endangered North American wood storks on July 21 at the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

The wildlife management area’s south farm is drained each year at midsummer to enhance wetland growth before being flooded in the fall as waterfowl habitat and to stimulate crawfish production.

When the banks are drained, the exposed crawfish attract North American wood storks, which are becoming rare as wetlands are permanently drained for construction. They’ve been listed as endangered since 1984.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will handle the draining work from 7 a.m. until noon. The best viewing is early in the morning, said park ranger Brian Osberghaus.

Officials said anyone can watch at no charge, but persons between the ages of 16 and 60 must have either a valid Louisiana hunting or fishing license or a Wild Louisiana stamp.

Licenses may be obtained from retailers, online at or by phone at 1-888-765-2602.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.