Florida is one of the top places in the nation for birds. That's why Florida birding is so popular.
Did you know that there are more than 470 species of birds that live in Florida. Florida is a birdwatcher's paradise with such rare birds as the Florida burrowing owl, Florida scrub jay and of course, because of all our water, lots of wading birds.
Since birding is so popular here in Florida the Florida Fish And Wildlife Commission put together a collection of great birding sites and started The Great Florida Birding Trail.
The first part of the trail opened on November 12, 2000 and the trail was completed in January 2006 with the addition of the South Florida section.
The Great Florida Birding Trail is a 2,000 mile highway trail that brings together 446 new and existing birding sites throughout all of Florida. The trail is divided into 4 sections, the East, West, Panhandle and South Florida Sections.
I'm letting you know all of this because there are only 6 Gateway sites in all of Florida and we have one right close to here at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you didn't know it, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for bird watching.
The Refuge covers 140,000 acres of Kennedy Space Center land comprised of brackish estuaries, marshes, coastal dunes, scrub oaks, pine forests and flatwoods, and palm and oak hammocks. This diverse wildlife area boasts numerous wading bird rookeries, 10 active bald eagle nests, numerous osprey nests, and an around 2,500 Florida scrub jays can be found within the borders of the refuge. So, now you can see why is so poplular in Florida.
Some of the other species of popular birds in the Refuge are the Peregrine falcon, Florida sandhill crane, snowy egret, wood stork, red-headed woodpecker, little blue heron, brown pelican and 61 other species of birds.
If you are a bird watcher and have all the right gear or are just someone who enjoys Florida bird watching and would like more information about the Great Florida Birding Trail you can visit their web site at: www.floridabirdingtrail.com