About half of the 280-acre island is reserved for wildlife, though you’re likely to see plenty in the areas where humans are welcome, too. Between 1,000 and 1,500 gopher tortoises roam the island and, typically, 30 to 70 loggerhead sea turtles nest here each year.
The southern part of the island—about 97 acres—is a dedicated bird sanctuary. On your visit, you’re likely to see some of the island’s 117 species of nesting, migratory and wintering birds, including osprey, brown pelicans, royal and sandwich terns, laughing gulls and black skimmers. Visit between April and August to experience the sights and sounds of literally thousands of birds roosting together. (Please respect wildlife and nesting areas and keep a comfortable distance.)