Location: Perdue Pond Wildlife Area is a small parcel of land at the corner of Airport Center Drive E and Perdue Road in north Jacksonville.
Parking: There is a small parking area about half a city block down on the left after turning onto Perdue Road from Airport Center Drive E. It is unpaved but hard packed dirt and grass; there is no apron so wheelchairs are not recommended. Parking is free and there is no admission fee. Hours are 24×7, 365 days per year.
Trails: There is a flat grass pathway circling the pond wide enough for one vehicle to drive on, but it is not recommended that you walk it. This location is renowned for its waterfowl and walking the path will certainly flush the birds.
Facilities: None. There are no facilities or infrastructure of any kind, including any kind of bench.
The Dailey Birder’s Tips: When you park, walk just past the yellow gate in front of you and set up your scope or tripod somewhere between the gate and the small grove of bald cypress right in front of you. The cypress act as a natural blind, and you’ll be able to scan 98% of the pond from this vantage point. There is no need to walk around the edge of the pond.
Target Species: Waterfowl. This location boasts one of the highest concentrations of Canada Goose in Florida, and 22 species of waterfowl have been recorded here in just the last five years. Some of the more uncommon species recorded here include Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Snow Goose, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, and Redhead.
About: Perdue Road pond started as a local retention pond and a local resident arranged for a large quantity of grain to be dropped daily to feed the waterfowl (including resident Swan Geese). This soon attracted more and more waterfowl and got the attention of local birders. David Foster decided to draft a management plan and presented it to the City of Jacksonville, and they actually bought into it. In 2015, it officially became Perdue Pond Wildlife Area and is governed by local city ordinances. As of 2016, the site has hosted 110 bird species.
Birding Strategy: Perdue Pond Wildlife Area is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. In winter, it is perhaps the best place in northeast Florida to view waterfowl and is certainly one of the premier places to find difficult species like Northern Pintail, Canvasback, and Green-winged Teal. If you can, plan on arriving around daybreak and be content to stand there for an hour as the birds come and go. It’s quite interesting how some species will arrive for the day while others that roosted overnight will leave just after dawn. A similar event occurs each evening.
This is a small location where you should expect to do primarily a “stationary count”. There is really nowhere to walk and you shouldn’t have to – standing near the parking spaces will yield most of the species you’d see or hear during the visit anyway.