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St. John's River -Wild Life in Florida

Updated on May 16, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I love beautiful scenery and the changes of the season offer us some scenes of beauty that elicit gratitude for me. Learn from travel.

St. Johns River & Ducks


N. Florida - St. Johns River

The St. John’s River is the longest river in Florida (310 miles); therefore it is home to numerous exotic birds, manatee, reptiles and fish. It is sometimes called the “lazy river” because it has a flow rate of a one third mile per hour.

This slow movement makes controlling pollution a more difficult task. Take a trip up the river with me to see the most amazing birds, dolphins and maybe even a manatee.

The river is fed primarily through rainfall, which is typical of all the rivers in Florida, although some of the water comes from the Florida Aquifer. This river also has the distinction of being one of the few rivers in the U.S. that flows north. It includes marshlands, many tributaries, plus it flows through the city of Jacksonville and as the river meets the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville the fresh water mixes with saltwater. This is called brackish water, which is important for some unique animal species.

Fuller Warren Bridge

My Photo
My Photo

Boating Under Hart Bridge, Jacksonville

My Photo
My Photo

Recreation on the River

The river is used for recreation in many areas, which include boating, sailing, water skiing, fishing and cruises. More than 500,000 acres of land has been acquired by St. John’s Water Management District, which encompass 18 different counties in Florida. They fight hard to keep the river free from pollution. Jacksonville is a city with multiple bridges to cross the river.

Beauty of Egret Feathers



There are numerous splendid birds that inhabit the river and one of the most beautiful is the Egret. The bright white color of the Egret makes him stand out in the green marshlands. They are typically 41” tall with a 55” wingspan.

At one time they were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumage. The Egret has a yellow bill, which helps distinguish it from other birds. It flies slowly with its neck retracted.

They wade and feed in shallow water on fish, frogs and small reptiles. Egrets congregate in groups, particularly at night. When they hold their heads high with their bills straight up it emphasizes their head and chest plumes and this signifies they are ready for mating right now. The female usually lays two beautiful blue eggs in a nest made of small branches.

Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron

The great Blue Heron is another unique bird of the herons family. They are waders, just like the Egret and are found along coastlines, in marshes or other bodies of water. They walk slowly and stand still for a long time in order to snare their aquatic prey as they are also carnivores.

They have a blade like bill and along with their long necks they are able to quickly they snap up their prey and swallow it whole. These birds have actually chocked to death on their prey if a fish is too large for their S shaped neck. Their body length is 3.2 to 4.5 feet, but their wing span is 5.5 to 6.6 feet, which lets you appreciate the beauty of this bird in flight. They can fly at 20-30 MPH.

While they nest in colonies, they hunt alone. The colonies are typically in tall trees and typically 160 nests per colony, but can range from 5-500 nests. Both parents incubate and protect their baby birds. The female usually lays 6 blue eggs, which take 28 days to hatch. The chicks are able to survive on their on after two months of age. There are also different varieties of Herons, like the White Heron, which has a yellow bill.

Great Blue Heron - Feeding Young & more




The Anhinga, also called the Snake bird is another interesting bird that lives near the water in the south from Texas to North Carolina in the US. This bird is protected in the US. It has much darker plumage than the first two birds in this article. It also has a very long neck, with a wingspan of 46”.

When this bird is swimming quite often you can only see its neck above water, which is why the Snakebird name arose. The dark neck looks like a snake in the water.

This bird is different from many others as it is unable to oil or waterproof its feathers, which can cause them to become waterlogged. The up side to this is the bird can dive down easily to search for underwater prey. It eats fish and amphibians and it can stay under water for a significant period of time.

When necessary the Anhinga will dry its feathers and wings by spreading them into a semicircle. It will perch for long periods of time to allow its wings to dry. Obviously it can not fly well if its wings are waterlogged.

American White Pelicans


American White Pelican

The pelicans are one of the largest birds in America, and they are found all across America, typically breeding inland on lakes or rivers. They have short legs, similar to a duck, but have a long, broad wingspan. They dip their head underwater to scoop up fish and often hunt for their prey in a group.

They move into a circle to concentrate the fish in one area and dip their heads simultaneously to catch the fish. They often breed on small little islands found in fresh water, but they like shallow coastal bays and inlets in the non-breeding season. They lay eggs on the sand, soil or gravel and rake up nearby vegetation or sand to make a flat nest with a low rim.

They are very graceful when they fly, and it is a real treat to see them in flight formations or when they are alone.

Must Remember the Allegators


Nature on the St. Johns River

The St. Johns River Management does a wonderful job of managing the river and have worked tirelessly to keep the river clean for all to enjoy.

The St. Johns River is beautiful and very interesting if you take note of the birds, manatee, reptiles and fish. The river is teeming with wild life and the birds are especially beautiful. If you enjoy taking bird pictures, then this river is the place to be.

This river is enjoyed by thousands of people year round, whether fishing, boating or photographing gorgeous birds.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 years ago from Sunny Florida

    poetryman, You may have been on A1A as you wold be by the Atlantic Ocean, and there are numerous rivers and marsh land also.

  • poetryman6969 profile image


    3 years ago

    One of the most extraordinary things about the east Florida coast when I lived there were the rivers that flowed near the sea and the nearby bridges. I remember going up and down a coastal road. I think it was A1A.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    prarieprincess, No, I didn't take the video but I would love to be able to do that. I love birds and I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thank you for your comments.

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 

    6 years ago from Canada

    Pamela, this is a beautiful hub! I loved the video. Did you take that yourself? It's amazing footage to get that close to the birds.

    My Mom always loved birds so much and she talked in wonder about the blue heron, which she had seen only once. (they are not common here on the prairies.) I love the birds you have there in that part of the world and loved viewing this hub. Thank you!

  • Rosemay50 profile image

    Rosemary Sadler 

    6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

    St Johns river looks like a beautiful place. The photos are wonderful and I so enjoyed watching the video. I had never heard of the snake bird before. It is good to see places like this virtually unspoiled where wildlife can live naturally.

    Thank you for sharing

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dolores, I love watching the birds also, as it is relaxing and they are beautiful. I appreciate your comments.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    6 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Enjoyed the trip along the St. John's River. I've never been there but visited southern Florida. I like to bird watch and Florida is an amazing place for birders, there are so many species...I remember loving to watch the Anhinga drying their wings just like in your picture.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    andinwu, I'm glad you enjoyed the beautiful birds. I appreciate your comments.

    Happyboomernurse, I'm so glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for your comments.

  • Happyboomernurse profile image

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    I enjoyed this hub, the photos and all the facts about the river and the teaming wildlife that inhabits this region. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Voted up across the board except for funny.

  • anglnwu profile image


    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of these beautiful birds. I've never heard of an Anhinga--sounds interesting. My favorite has to be Great Blue Heron. Nothing as relaxing as bird watching. Rated up.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Movie Master, The Egret is my favorite bird to watch also. Thank you for your comments.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    What a beautiful bird the Egret is, I had no idea their wingspan was almost 5 foot!

    A beautiful hub and pictures thank you, I really enjoyed reading and voted up.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    quildon, I agree with you completely. Nature is a gift to enjoy. Thank you for your comments.

  • quildon profile image

    Angela Joseph 

    6 years ago from Florida

    Great hub and great pics, pamela. I think I've seen the Anhinga in a lake here in Florida and wondered if it was a snake. God has given us so much to enjoy. Voted up and useful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, It was my pleasure and I'm glad you learned a few things new about FL. I believe you live further south than I anyway. I appreciate your comments.

    SunRob, No, I didn't make the video but I thought it was perfect for this hub. A friend of mine took all the bird pictures and he is quite good at this type of photography. I'm in the middle of your book and you have quite an imagination! Lots of surprises and suspense. Thanks for your comments.

    Kulsum Mehmood, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.

    always exploring, Florida especially attracts unique and beautiful birds, plus waterways are everywhere. Thanks for your comments.

    moonlake, It is so hot in the middle of the summer that winter is a nice time to visit. Thanks for your comments.

  • moonlake profile image


    6 years ago from America

    Beautiful pictures. I love going to Fla also. I would love to go in the winter. "ALL WINTER" Great hub. voted up

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    6 years ago from Southern Illinois

    Beautiful pictures. Fla. has everything. I enjoy going to Fla in the winter months. Thank's for sharing info...

  • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

    Dr Kulsum Mehmood 

    6 years ago from Nagpur, India

    Beautiful hub. Beautiful video and pictures.

  • SubRon7 profile image

    James W. Nelson 

    6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

    Beautiful hub, Pamela, and did you make and narrate the video? I could certainly imagine it was you. I have a pretty big marsh just south of me about a quarter mile away. Just one time I have seen a flock of pelicans come in. It was about the most graceful thing I have ever seen, and when they were swimming it appeared (as you said) they all dipped at once, for whatever they were catching.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    Even though I have lived in Florida for most of my life, Pamela, much of the information in your hub about the St. Johns River and some of the wildlife is new to me. Thank you for enhancing my education. Voted up, m'dear.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    oceansnsunsets, Thank you so much for your comments.

    Cardisa, The alligators are primarily in the marsh areas and yes they are scary so people know to stay away from them. I appreciate your comments.

  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 

    6 years ago from Jamaica

    I have never heard of the Anhingas before, they are beautiful. This river is gorgeous but I got scared when you mentioned the alligators! Thanks for sharing Pamela, very beautiful.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image


    6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Hi Pamela, I love rivers and different bodies of water. The birds are so unique and beautiful, but all the wildlife there seems so interesting.

    I can see why people enjoy the water recreation they do there. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    njaganath, The Adyar River does sound very similar to the St. Johns. Thank you for your comments.

    prasetio, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

    Peggy, The Anhinga is definitely an interesting bird. Thank you for your comments.

    sofs, The Egret is so graceful. I appreciate your comments.

    CreateSquidoo, I appreciate your comments.

    eolikes, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comment.

  • eolikes profile image


    6 years ago from Bangladesh

    pamela.. Wondrful hub..

  • CreateSquidoo profile image


    6 years ago

    Nice place to visit.

  • sofs profile image


    6 years ago

    Wow! interesting hub and beautiful pictures. Nature is always interesting and beautiful.The picture of the egret is my favorite.. Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a wonderful day! God Bless!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Hi Pamela,

    I will join the others who have mentioned not knowing about the bird called an Anhinga. Very interesting! Also interesting to know that this river flows north which is definitely unusual. Thanks for this beautiful hub. Enjoyed it and voting it up, useful, interesting as well as beautiful

  • prasetio30 profile image


    6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I had never know about St. John’s River. Pamela, you have done such a great work by introduce this with us. I really enjoy all pictures and video above. Thanks for writing and share with us. Rated up. Take care and enjoy your day!


  • njaganath profile image


    6 years ago from 25 Adams Street Clark NJ, USA 07066-3201

    This reminds me of the Adyar river in the heart of Chennai(earlier Madras)in India, where I spent most of my life before moving over to USA. Where the river joins the Bay of Bengal,it is practically stagnant, with sand bars near the mouth.The water is brackish,that only clears up during high tide. A bird sanctuary has been formed recently where several species of water birds can be observed after the monsoon.The snake bird is also known there as the Darter.

    Would like to visit Jacksonville sometime soon.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Will, Its nice you saw FL before the population boom. Thanks for your comments.

  • WillStarr profile image


    6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    When I was a kid in South Carolina, we visited Florida, and that was before the population boom, so it was still pretty wild. Good article!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nell, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

    tillsonititan, Thank you so much for your comments and I am glad you liked the hub.

    JKenny, Yes, the Anhinga is similar to the Cormoroant. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • JKenny profile image

    James Kenny 

    6 years ago from Birmingham, England

    What a wonderful place St. Johns river sounds. The Anhinga is such an interesting bird, to me it looks similar to a Cormorant, but is so unusual with a really cool name.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    6 years ago from New York

    So much to learn in our own country. I'd never heard of the Anhinga either but of course I am familiar with the rest of the birds in your hub. The video was great too. Voted up and interesting.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    6 years ago from England

    Hi, fascinating facts about St.Johns river, it certainly has some lovely wildlife, I had never heard of the snakebird or Anhinga, its lovely though, this was really interesting, thanks, voted and shared, nell


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