Central Florida has always been an excellent birding destination, but its notoriety increased substantially, thanks in no small part to the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, which began attracting birders to the region some 30 years ago. While the birding festival sadly could not survive the COVID-19 pandemic, the area’s refuges, wetlands, coastline, and forests continue to provide vital wintering habitat for big numbers of birds and there is therefore still much to excite the visiting birder!
Our short tour explores all that the ‘Space Coast’ has to offer and celebrates many of the areas visited on field trips with the former festival. Huge numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds overwinter along the Canaveral National Seashore and at Merritt Island, where there are annual sightings of such rarities as Eurasian Wigeon and Cinnamon Teal nestled in amongst the hordes of more commonly occurring species. Florida’s only endemic bird is the Florida Scrub-Jay and we hope to see that in the scrubby habitat it prefers. We will bird wetlands both natural and man-made where impressive congregations of wading birds can be found in addition to a number of rails, including the beautiful Purple Gallinule and the exotic Gray-headed Swamphen. We should find Snail Kites patrolling the wetlands looking for apple snails and flocks of Sandhill Cranes (occasionally with Whooping) in the open pastures. A visit to some of Central Florida’s piney-woods should produce the federally-endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, as well as Brown-headed Nuthatches and if we’re lucky, Bachman’s Sparrow. As well as many of the regular birds there’s plenty of chances for rarities, and over the past years we have seen Masked Duck, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Common Eider, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on visits to this area.
Join us for this laid-back tour to Central Florida's Space Coast!
Some of the Birds We Hope to See
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Whooping and Sandhill Cranes, Wood Stork, American Bittern, American White Pelican, Short-tailed Hawk, Snail Kite, Purple Gallinule, Gray-headed Swamphen, Sora, Limpkin, Crested Caracara, Merlin, Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Ash-throated and Vermilion Flycatchers, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman's Sparrow, Painted Bunting, a great selection of wintering ducks, herons, shorebirds, and over-wintering warblers.