Florida may be a great place to escape the chilly air, but for bird enthusiasts, it’s also one of the best states for spotting their favorite feathered friends. In fact, Florida is a top location for bird watching in North America all year-round. But in the winter, Florida becomes a layover stop for birds migrating to south in the fall and winter, and back again for the warmer months.
If you’re headed out to do some wild winter birding, here are some prime places to check out:
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples
Old-growth cypress forests and rare orchids provide habitats for many wildlife species. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has a beautiful 2.5-mile boardwalk across the 14,000 acres so you can easily stroll among the sights. Open year-round, this is the perfect place to get out and do some serious birding.
The Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to 140,000 acres of protected land. For birds flying in the Atlantic Flyaway migration route, this is a prominent stopover point. Hundreds of thousands of birds fly through here on their way to their southern homes. Birders can check out the "recent sightings" list, which provides specific trails best for birding.
Home to many bird habitats, Fort De Soto is a popular place to experience nature from the water. Both canoe, kayak and foot trails provide recreation among the wildlife. Whether you’re sitting and relaxing or out in action, you’re sure to see some fascinating sights.