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Florida’s birdlife

Florida’s abundant bird life provides numerous opportunities for bird watching, such as the Great Florida Birding trail and wildlife viewing sites. If you're just starting “birding”, the guide Birdwatching Basics is available online. Florida has at least 480 verifiable species and the Commission offers a certificate program to record your observations. Additionally learning the songs of Florida’s birds can provide additional enjoyment. As you become more interested in birds Rare Bird Alerts provide opportunities for finding unique birds.

Maintaining a bird feeder is a great way to learn about birds and their behavior. Plus the birds will appreciate it! The Wild Bird Center has information as does the National Bird Feeding Society. Cornell University also offers a nice overview of bird feeding. You may want to build a birdhouse, such as for the barn owl, or eastern blue bird, or wood duck.

Sandhill cranes should not be fed. After a few months of feeding, the cranes may damage cars, pool enclosures, flower beds, golf courses, and even pets. Please enjoy these elegant birds from a distance. Brown pelicans should also never be fed. Many pelicans die by eating cleaned fish carcasses when protruding bones become wedged in their throats. The nutritional value of fish carcasses is low. Repeated feeding may also condition pelicans to chase items thrown into the water, such as fishing lures, which can cause serious injuries.

If you find a baby bird it is usually best to leave it alone. Often the animal is not orphaned, and the parent may be out getting food, or watching the baby. Never pick up baby birds and remove them from the nest, or their natural environment! Additional information on orphaned animals is available from the Wildlife Resources Handbook. The FWC regional offices have a list of wildlife rehabilitators for orphaned or injured wildlife. If you find a dead bird, please report the bird. Your reports may assist in tracking the causes of bird mortality, including the spread of the West Nile Virus tracked by the Florida Department of Health.

If you are a property owner, birds may rarely damage property. Vultures may occasionally tear screens or roofs and woodpeckers may damage siding. Check the other pages on this web site for information or you contact the nearest FWC regional office for assistance.

All of Florida’s native birds are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are also protected under state law, and may not be trapped or killed without federal permit. Endangered and threatened species are additionally protected.

More information

Wings over Florida Bird Certification Program
Great Florida Birding Trail
Florida Ornithological Society
Important Bird Areas in Florida