As the year reaches its end, bird migration reaches its peak. Some places see more birds than they did in spring.
Some people say that Florida is the ideal place during the fall since it welcomes a large variety of migratory birds.
Fall migration begins in late July and continues through winter. As many birds either return to Florida or come to seek refuge from the harsh weather.
Here’s a list of some of the most mesmerizing migratory birds in Florida:
The Sandhill Crane is famous for its long necks and red beaks. The species can be seen in Florida all year round.
However, during the fall season, Florida hosts the Greater Sandhill Crane in huge numbers.
The Greater Sandhill Crane is a larger subspecies of the Sandhill Crane. Up to 25000 of them fly towards Florida to seek refuge in the winters.
If you ever get to see them in flight – it is truly a mesmerizing sight. They fly in large flocks, and their distinct calling voices can be heard from over a mile.
The Cedar Waxwing is also one of the migratory guests in Florida. However, due to their nomadic nature, they do not have a fixed migration plan.
These birds and tend to change locations almost every year.
They fly in huge flocks. If you ever catch them migrating, you could probably see them hover in mid-air and hear their thin voice around the area.
The Cedar Waxwing is a hard bird to miss. They are pretty colorful, with a brown head, black beak, and a body transitioning from brown to blue and yellowish.
These birds, regardless of how pretty, can be a nightmare for farmers.
The Waxwing usually visits Florida around the fruit ripening time, picking on every berry as they go. This becomes a real issue for farmers trying to salvage their crops.
Known as one of the many shorebirds that retreat to Florida, the Anhinga, also called the snakebird or water Turkey can be found near the shrubs.
The Anhinga dives into the water and chases after its prey. Once their meal is over, they return to the shrubs beside the shore to dry themselves off.
There is a high chance that you will find the Anhinga all year round in Florida since these birds prefer to live near the shrublands.
True to its name, the Spotted Solitary is usually found alone in muddy ponds, streams, or by the lake edges.
These birds do not migrate in flocks, however, a small body of the same species can sometimes gather together.
As fall migration starts, the Spotted Solitary can be found in large numbers in Florida or throughout Central and Southern America as they prefer warmer winters.
These are relatively small shorebirds with brown and white spots on top and a completely white underbelly. You can also identify them by their high-pitched calls.
Continuing the Sandpiper legacy, the Semipalmated Sandpiper is a winter resident in Southern America, mainly Florida.
These birds are quite the travelers and cover a very long journey to reach their destination.
During the summers, the Semipalmated Sandpiper can only be found up North, like in the Arctic Circle.
Most studies have shown that the Semipalmated Sandpiper can trek between 2000 to 3000 miles nonstop! Do you know how they go so long without taking a break? Fat reserves for the win.
The Semipalmated Sandpiper spends its entire summer eating and preparing for this crazy hike.
However, due to these highly long hikes, these birds are now on the watch list. They could be potentially endangered due to seeking refuge in threatened habitats.
The Gull-Billed Tern is a broad bird with enormous wings, a short tail, and a distinct black head and beak.
These birds can be found almost everywhere except Antarctica.
Some of the Gull-billed Terns that tend to breed within the Gulf have non-migratory natures. However, those that breed near the Atlantic or Pacific Coats tend to migrate to Florida during the winters.
Unlike other Terns, the Gull-Billed Tern does not dive into the water to catch its prey. They prefer snacking on insects or crabs that can be found on the ground.
They are mostly found near marshes, pastures, or open areas that are close to the coast.
However, over the years, the Gull-billed Tern’s habitat is at risk. Due to an increase in human intervention and pesticide use – their breeding colonies are threatened.
These tiny yet magnificent creatures are migratory guests in Florida during the winters.
Research has determined that some American Redstart birds tend to nest here in the winters, near Panhandle.
During the winters, they prefer to seek refuge in almost any tree they can find. Sometimes they can even be seen within the suburbs.
The American Redstart is a true insect eater. They flash their bright colors at the insect to dismantle them and grab them while in flight.
As the songbird migration begins mid-July, Florida welcomes a number of the Red-Eyed Vireo to its land.
These birds are tiny, almost sparrow-sized, with a long head, thick neck, and a strong bill. Their body, however, is bulky with a short tail.
The Red-Eyed Vireo is primarily found in forests within trees with large leaves such as Maple Trees.
During migration, you can pretty much spot them in almost any forest – such as the woodlands, woodlots, etc.
Another one of the Sandpiper clan, the Ruddy Turnstone, is a common sight on the Florida beaches near the winters.
During the summers, these Sandpipers prefer to go up extreme north. It is the perfect snowbird.
Moreover, if you were ever to spot a Ruddy Turnstone in the summer, you will probably not recognize it in the winters.
These birds look entirely different as the season changes – during summer, it has a black and white face with bright red wings.
However, during the winters, its colors tend to dull down. It becomes more brown than red.
Many researchers have also noticed that non-breeding Ruddy Turnstones are most likely to be found in Florida during the summers as well since they do not migrate.
Known for spending their winters near Florida’s coastal beaches and mudflats, these Marbled Godwits are truly majestic creatures.
These shorebirds are known for their long legs and slightly upturned pink beak. They are generally brown and white with hints of cinnamon underparts.
They tend to bury their long beaks within the ground and hunt for small crustaceans or invertebrates. Sometimes they even walk while probed.
If you happen to be visiting Florida during this time, there is a high chance that you will find these birds along the Florida beaches or near the wetlands.
Along with several shorebirds and songbirds migrating to Florida during the fall season, many raptor birds emigrate from Florida.
The earliest bird to leave is the Swallow-Tailed Kite that is gone from the end of August. The best place to find these birds before this time is in Florida.
Named the “coolest bird on the planet”, you cannot miss the Swallow-Tailed Kite soaring above the swamps or wetlands within Florida.
Watching them in flight is a mesmerizing sight as they maneuver by twisting their tails and chasing prey from trees.
The Alder Flycatcher is another one of the smaller birds that visit Florida during the winter season.
These birds can be found in wet boreal thickets, shrublands, and other areas.
Known for their brownish olive green color with white sidebar wings, they grab their prey either directly from leaves or perches or even mid-air.
Merlin Falcons are another one of raptor species that can be seen migrating to Florida.
If you are visiting Florida during this time, you can probably see these falcons in impressive numbers.
Since the Merlin is a migratory bird, they can be found all over North America, and when it gets too cold in the North – they tend to move to the South.
You can find these birds in nearby grasslands, shrublands, forests, parks, graveyards, etc. They are pretty adaptable, so habitat is not an issue.
If you wish to sight the White-Crowned Pigeon, the best time to find one is during the fall season in South Florida.
These pigeons can be found over wooded habitats in South Florida and can be seen nesting in small offshore islands.
They can be seen in large flocks flying overhead or perched on treetops eating berries.
By now, you are probably a migratory bird expert. There are numerous species of birds that either migrate to or emigrate from Florida during these numerous seasons.
We hope this blog covered as many Florida migratory birds as possible.
Here’s to hoping that this blog helped you learn about various migratory birds and their species found in Florida.
Keep watching this space for more informational blogs and bird-watching guides.
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