Bird watching is either of the worlds oldest and greatest past times. The hours spent out doors, observing the natural world's one of the best ways I know to relax and enjoy nature. Bird watching in the Florida Everglades is especially entertaining. The vast water ways and marshland that make up the everglades are home to millions of birds and other species. Waders, fliers, hunters and foragers are all present and accounted for. One of the most spectacular groups of birds in the Florida Everglades is the raptors and birds of prey.
All of the birds of prey commonly found in the Florida Everglades are likewise found in other areas of the country. Some are even found on other continents. In fact, the most naturally widespread bird species is a bird of prey commonly found in the the Everglades. Click this link: more.
We're all interested in bird watching. This was unquestionably a highlight of our airboat trip in the Florida Everglades. We were fortunate enough to spot a white ibis and a great blue heron. However, a number of other birds also inhabit the Everglades. We 'd hoped to see a roseate spoonbill or either of the varieties of egrets in the region, but did not get quite that lucky.
A Crowd of Information On Florida Everglades
The Florida Everglades are a unique freshwater ecosystem in south Florida. The Everglades are a natural region of wetland starting with the Kissimee River and Lake Okeechobee in the northern and ending at the the Florida Bay in the South. The Everglades is actually a huge, shallow and slow moving river over 60 miles wide that flows all the way to Florida Bay. In the dry season it is slightly more than a sea of grass with pockets of water here and there. Just in case you are looking at this topic; kindly visit; http://davidweekly.weebly.com/blog/the-space-program-in-florida.
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands that stretch down the southern half of Florida from the Kissimmee River near Orlando through Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state.
Osprey are large birds similar to eagles, in fact they're often called fish eagles, fish hawks and sea hawks. Osprey live high in the tops of trees, near water, where they build large nests to rear their young. Osprey live on every continent except Antarctica, whenever there is enough water to sustain a healthy fish population.
Vultures aren't often thought of as birds of prey. Often called buzzards they're more well known as scavengers. These large, ungainly birds will also hunt for food as a complement to eating what they find. They fly high in the sky, floating on warm air currents to conserve energy while they look for carrion or other sources of food. There are two kinds of vultures in the Florida Everglades.
Turkey Vulture Turkey Vultures are the most common of the American vultures. American vultures aren't related to the Old World varieties but are their own species. They are nearly identical to Old World species due to convergent evolution. The turkey vulture got its name as a result of its bald head which resembles the American turkey.
This can be a difficult question to answer. Buzzards in the Old World (Europe) are a type of raptor that is usually refered to in America as a hawk. The term is also served to describe any kind of pest bird of prey, such as chicken hawks and sometimes vultures. These aren't buzzards at all. For our purposes a buzzard and a hawk's the same thing. A hawk is a medium sized bird of prey in the genus bueto. Bueto is a large family of birds which are characterised by robust bodies and large wingspans. The Everglades is host to at least six different species of hawks and buzzards, not to mention the vultures and other raptors who're sometimes referred to as buzzards.
Kites are another well represented group in the Florida Everglades. This raptor group has four members living in the Everglades today.
Swallow-Tailed Kitelive and breed from the southeastern United States all the way into Central America, Argentina and Peru. Most of the northern breeding kites will migrate south in the winter but the southern population stays in the south year round. The swallow-tailed kite is a medium-large bird with a deeply forked tails and white undersides fringed in black. Swallow-tailed kites love wetlands and forested areas near wetlands where they can build their nests and hunt for food.
White-Tailed Kitesare a smallish member of the genus Elanus. It is generally white all over with some dark grey coloring on the wings. The white tailed kite feeds primarily on rodents and can be seen gliding over open country and grassland. White-tailed kites aren't as common as other kites in the Everglades but they're still found there.
Mississippi Kitesare another small bird of prey. The bird is a member of the family Acipitridae and typically weighs about a half pound. This bird is a light ashy grey all over with darker grey on the top wings and flight feathers. Mississippi Kites feed primarily on insects which they catch in flight. They also catch small rodents and reptiles when available. Mississippi Kites are found all across the US in summer and migrate south in winter. They breed in colonies and both parents share in incubating the egg.
Snail KiteThe snail kite is an endangered species in the Florida Everglades. The population is about 400 breeding pairs. The birds feed almost entirely on snails. These they crack open with their sharp beaks. Snail Kites are often seen gliding along with their heads down as they look for their food. The snail kite is another member of the family Acipitridae which also includes eagles, hawks and the old world vultures. Males are a dark blue grey with darker patches on the wings. Females are more brownish with a whitish face and a streaked underside.
Falcons are a group of small birds of prey who use speed to overpower their prey. The wide open spaces of the Florida Everglades makes speed and important factor when hunting for small birds, animals and flying insects. There are three species of falcons living in the Everglades with names more reminiscent of WWII fighter planes than birds.
Eagles are large and wide ranging birds. Some species can be obtained on nearly every continent! The Golden Eagle is one of those. It is the national bird of five different countries including Germany and Mexico. There are two species of Eagles living in the Florida Everglades and Everglades National Park.
Golden EagleGolden Eagles are large, golden brown birds with an enormous wingspan reaching 6-7 feet wide. The golden eagle likes to feed on small animals like rabbits and squirrels but have been known to go after much larger prey like racoons, foxes and small deer.
Bald EagleBald Eagles have a distinctive white head and dark brown bodies. The large bird, once endangered, is making a comeback across the continent. Bald Eagles feed primarily on fish. These they spot with their eagle eyes and snatch out of the water while flying as low as possible. Bald Eagles make one of the great nests of any bird species, measuring about 8 feet wide and weighing over 1000 pounds.
Owls are a commons sight, or a common sound, in the Everglades. Owls are notoriously hard to spot by day as they sleep high in trees or other safe spots. By night, when they're not swooping silently on their prey they're sitting in trees hooting to each other. The eerie sounds echo and carry across the waters of the everglades sparking the imagination of residents and visitors alike. There are two common species of owls living in the Everglades National Park.