Historic Markers Across Florida

Columbus G. Mcleod--Protector of Plumed Birds

Marker ID: FLHM F-552
Location: Ponce de Leon Historical Park, Punta Gorda
County: Charlotte
Coordinates: N 26° 54.615    W 082° 05.740
  26.91025    -82.09566666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM2WW5


Many wading birds can be seen here, largely due to the sacrifice of men like Columbus G. McLeod (1848-1908), who gave his life trying to protect them from plume hunters. Ladies hats with exotic bird feathers were high fashion in the late 1800s, and thousands of birds were slaughtered in Florida for their plumage. In 1901, the Audubon Society persuaded the state to adopt laws protecting Florida wildlife, especially plumage birds. Even so, no funds were allocated. The state, however, agreed to deputize two wardens hired by the Audubon Society. The danger of this work was evidenced when Guy M. Bradley, charged with protecting the Everglades area, was found shot to death near Flamingo on July 8, 1905. Columbus G. McLeod of Placida, charged with protecting the rookeries here in northern Charlotte Harbor, disappeared under suspicious circumstances and was presumed murdered on November 30, 1908. This second death of an Audubon warden sparked a national campaign against the wearing of feathers, and shifted public sentiment in favor of stronger enforcement of wildlife protection laws and the prosecution of plume hunters. Today we enjoy the beauty of our Florida wading birds largely because of these men.

Sponsors: The Peace River Audubon Society and the Florida Department of State - 2004


City: Punta Gorda, FL