Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Usually, only local birders know the best birding sites in an area. The Great Florida Birding Trail was designed to give visitors access to those special places that only locals know. Sponsored by the Florida Fish and wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Park Service, Florida Audubon, and the Florida Department of Transportation, the trail ties together well known birding spots with more obscure, lesser-known sites. Sites along the trail were nominated by local birders, and selected to maximize sightings of the more than 470 bird species that have been seen in the State. The trail has been designed to be birder-friendly for both experts and amateurs. Trail guides tell you which species you can expect to see at each site and what to expect in terms of logistics – a short walk, a driving loop or a long hike. Stops along the trail are marked with signs featuring the Swallow-tailed kite logo.
Birders are encouraged to flex their economic muscles by downloading ‘birder calling cards’ from the Great Florida Birding Trail web site. Conservation groups suggest that if birders leave calling cards every time they stay in a hotel, eat at a restaurant, or spend money in a store, communities will recognize the proportion of their business that comes from birders. Local communities along the Great Florida Birding Trail are highly supportive of the project because it brings bird-watchers into rural areas that rarely attract tourists. Ultimately, one of the project’s main goals is to conserve bird habitat by providing economic incentives for its protection.
Click here to visit the Great Florida Birding Trail website for maps and information on the regional trails.
Tropical Audubon Society of Miami
The Tropical Audubon Society web site has a detailed list of birding locations in and around Miami. The site gives you excellent directions to the best places to go if you want to see just about any south Florida bird from the red-whiskered bulbuls at Baptist Hospital, to black-necked stilts at the Homestead Racetrack. On several occasions we have followed their precise directions only to turn the corner and see the bird they are talking about! If you want to look for some of South Florida’s best birding locations, and you have a good map you can’t go wrong with
Florida also has dozens of ‘specialty’ birds - species that birders look for when they come to Florida. The Tropical Audubon Society of Miami web site has a very useful and precise guide to birds in south Florida. From common mynas in the parking lot of the Burger King at Florida City to cave swallows near the Turnpike, this web site will tell you exactly where to look for these unusual birds.
If you are looking for Snail Kites, Antillean Nighthawks, Parrots or Purple Gallinules check out the Tropical Audubon Society’s –
Where can I find? - Specialty birds in South Florida.
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