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RSW Living Magazine

This 9-acre island on the Caloosahatchee River is named in honor of Columbus G. McLeod, an Audubon warden in the early 1900s who was dedicated to protecting bird rookeries in Charlotte Harbor and the surrounding areas. He disappeared in 1908 and was presumed murdered by plume hunters. His death, along with an Everglades Audubon warden who was murdered a few years earlier, contributed to a national campaign to end plume hunting and the once-popular fashion of wearing feathers.

The preserve consists of multiple plant communities, including tidal swamp, mesic hammock and hydric hammock. The island was once connected to the mainland but was detached in the late 1800s as a result of the dredging of the Caloosahatchee River. Therefore, the preserve is not a true oxbow island, despite that it is now surrounded on all sides by the Caloosahatchee River.

The preserve is home to a variety of bird and animal species, including white ibis, little blue heron and red-shouldered hawk. Additionally, West Indian manatees, American alligators and common moorhens have been documented just offshore in the Caloosahatchee River.