August 17, 2022
“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as the bird?”~ David Attenborough
Bird watching, or the art of observing wild birds in their natural habitat, has been going on since the late 1800’s when the first Audubon society formed in Massachusetts to stop the killing of birds for plumes to decorate women’s hats. They argued that it was better to watch birds in the wild than to shoot them. Today it is estimated that over $17 billion is annually spent on nature and wildlife trips in the U.S., and more than 20 million specifically spent on birding trips. Wow! Attention birders: We have many great spots for birdwatching on Amelia Island but these are our top 7 picks for getting out in the wild with our feathered friends.
The seagull. That gray and white bird that squawks loudly, tries to steal your food and crowds your group is the one bird most folks associate with the beach. However, there are many other birds that love the beach shoreline in addition to gulls. Birds such as pelicans, sparrows, American oystercatchers, sandpipers, and terns frequent the beach and have been spotted in shoreline habitats. Grab a towel, some binoculars (only if you’re birdwatching) and head to the beach!
For wildlife viewing at its best, Egans Creek Greenway is the place to be. Alligator, deer, turtles, snakes, bobcat, and nearly 200 species of birds have been recorded in this 300 acres of unspoiled nature. The greenway offers a network of trails suitable for walking, bicycling, and especially birdwatching. Look for wading birds such as ibis, herons, egrets, and the endangered American wood stork. Seasonally, you can find indigo bunting, yellow warblers, swamp sparrows and ruby-crowned kinglets, just to name a few.
Originally developed “In Harmony with Nature” in 1972, Omni Amelia Island Resort has long been a nature lovers vacation destination. With a Nature Center and staff naturalist on site, there is no shortage of programs and tours designed to educate guests on mother nature. Among the programs is the Birds of Amelia Guided Tour where guests are taken to select locations around the resort to explore the diversity of bird species all around them. Look for year round songbirds such as the beautiful northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, chickadee and many more. Binoculars are included.
Where are birdies always a good thing? The golf courses on Amelia Island are loaded with nature and wildlife but none more so than Amelia River Golf Club. Smooth TifEagle greens, sculpted around a forest of majestic live oaks, sabal palms, southern pines and wax myrtles make it a golf and bird lovers delight. Raptors such as hawks, osprey, and even the great bald eagle have been spotted on this course. Lakes and ponds featured on several holes are home to many types of water fowl including the anhinga, also known as the snake bird for it’s resemblance to a snake swimming on top of the water.
Amelia Island State Park can be found along the southern tip of Amelia island. It is 7 miles north of Little Talbot Island State Park on SR A1A and consists of 200 acres of beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests. In addition to the many birds that roost in the trees, there are several bird species that can be found along the shoreline feeding at low tide. Plovers, brown pelicans, ruddy turnstones and willets are all frequent visitors.
Of all the great birding spots on Amelia Island, one of them made the Top 100 Florida Ebird Hotspots. Fort Clinch State Park is one of the first stops on the Great Florida Birding And Wildlife Trail and boasts over 250 species of birds that have been recorded within its 1,400 acres. Woodpeckers, warblers, wrens, owls, vireos, mockingbirds, doves, towhees, and hawks have all been counted in the area along with many wading and shore birds found along the marshes and river. Due to the park’s abundance of dunes, beaches, coastal strand, maritime hammock, and the salt and fresh water marshes, birds of all kinds love to come here.
Located on Big Talbot Island State Park, Spoonbill Pond is just a short drive from the southern tip of Amelia Island and is one of the best places around for observing bird life, namely the lovely Roseate Spoonbill for which it is named. This saltwater pond is loaded with marine life that many birds enjoy so have your binoculars, camera or iphone poised at the ready to catch a glimpse of a variety of waders and shorebirds. For a wildlife experience you won’t soon forget, may we suggest a Big Talbot Kayak Eco Tour for an amazing view of dolphin and sea turtles as well as egrets, herons, osprey and various migratory birds.
For additional information about birding on Amelia Island, visit The Amelia Island Bird Club and then book a stay with us so you can see them for yourself.
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