“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Avery Island in Iberia Parish, Louisiana — The American South (West South Central)

Bird City

Bird City Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cajun Scrambler, June 6, 2018
1. Bird City Marker
Edward Avery McIlhenny was inspired to create Bird City after a British colonial official visited Avery Island. The official told the story of a Rajah in India who built enormous "flying cages” (aviaries) to house his live bird collection. When the Rajah grew old, the cages were abandoned and fell apart, yet the birds remained, raising their young year after year at the same spot they themselves had been raised.

Around 1895, McIlhenny decided to build his own flying cage to help save the Snowy Egret, whose numbers had plummeted in recent times because of heavy demand for egret plumes, used to decorate women''s hats. For his flying cage McIlhenny chose "a small, wet area known as Willow Pond.” Building a dam around the place, he increased the pond's size to thirty-five acres. He then constructed an enormous flying cage of poultry netting suspended over the water. McIlhenny knew that egrets preferred to nest over water, because swimming alligators discouraged other predators from stealing eggs or young egrets.

McIlhenny soon found eight young snowy Egrets and hand-raised them. They thrived and appeared content
Bird City Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cajun Scrambler, June 6, 2018
2. Bird City Marker
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in the cage, and even seemed to enjoy interacting with McIlhenny. That fall, McIlhenny freed the birds to migrate south. Early the following spring-as he had hoped-six of his original eight birds returned to the flying cage, where they paired off and hatched eight more chicks. This happy pattern continued and sixteen years later in the spring of 1911, McIlhenny estimated that one hundred thousand birds occupied the rookery now known as Bird City. Bird City significantly helped to revive south Louisiana's egret population. Indeed, Theodore Roosevelt called Bird City "the most noteworthy reserve in the country” McIlhenny's efforts demonstrated that private individuals could seize the initiative and make enormous advances in wildlife conservation. (Marker Number 11.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsParks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt series list.
Location. 29° 54.46′ N, 91° 54.727′ W. Marker is on Avery Island, Louisiana, in Iberia Parish. Marker is on Jungle Garden Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Avery Island LA 70513, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McIlhenny (within shouting distance of this marker); Bamboo (within shouting distance
Bird City image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cajun Scrambler, June 6, 2018
3. Bird City
of this marker); Sunken Gardens (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Buddah (approx. ¼ mile away); Boat House (approx. ¼ mile away); This Buddah (approx. ¼ mile away); The Cleveland Oak (approx. 0.4 miles away); Southern Live Oaks (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avery Island.
More about this marker. Stop #11 on the Jungle Garden self driving tour.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 16, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on June 2, 2022, by Allen Keith Moses of North Richland Hills, Texas. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 16, 2018. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 21, 2023