Spring Bird Migration in the Everglades


Spring Bird Migration in the Everglades

The Everglades is the most important breeding ground in North America for wading birds, the marshy area provides foraging habitats for breeding birds.
There are over 400 different species that call South Florida home during the winter and spring months but some species can be seen year-round.The bird nesting season begins in early December and goes until early April as the birds fly down the great peninsula of Florida, but the migration begins in late September and the birds arrive down in the marshy areas in December. This time of year is important as the water levels drop due to a lack of rain but provide enough water in ponds, lakes, and sloughs to provide food like minnow’s, insects, snails, and smaller fish. Remember these are called wading birds and not swimming birds. However, man has played such a factor in where the water goes, and when it goes that sometimes bird migrations can be delayed due to higher water levels in late fall.

In different parts of the Everglades, these birds are known as shorebirds and can be viewed as the best at low tide. Where we are located in the Broward county area we have no tidal effect and rely only on the freshwater from the “River of Grass” which comes from Lake Okeechobee.

So naturally decreasing water levels are in the winter due to the lack of rain so in my humble opinion the best bird watching time will start in February, so if you are interested in a bird watching tour, we recommend early March through April as the two best months to observe birds such as The Great Egret the Great Blue Heron Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbill, Black neck Stilt Curlew, and so many others.

Different seasons bring different results, some years we are dry all spring and the birds seem to hang around later even into May, but once we get the first heavy rain the birds will disappear looking for higher ground.

We will see flocks by the hundreds and in those flocks, there can be up to a hundred birds of different species that will commingle and it is breathtaking. I have become over the years as a bird watcher and look forward to the wading season. So, bring your binoculars and enjoy the show…I do carry binoculars on the boat.