Birds and Wildlife Special to Southwest Florida

Bird Life

Note -  Lee County has recently adapted an ordnance to ban any pishing, call-backs, vocalizations, etc. on all county lands. An individual can be fined for any disruption in wildlife behavior.

Florida Scrub Jay

Status - Uncommon Resident

There are, currently, two known locations for sighting Florida Scrub Jays in the Ft Myers area.

One family group can be located in Lehigh Acres near to  47th St W, just off of Sunshine Blvd

The other location, a much more well know spot called Festival Park, in Cape Coral. Located near to Kismet and Chiquita Boulevard. Look for birds around NW 24th Terrace. They can be spotted using the clumps of scrub on the property. The family group will usually have a sentry bird perched high up on the wires or tree tops to keep a watch for danger or opportunities.  Feeding or calling these protected birds is not permitted. 

The Festival Park area is a tract of land the City of Cape Coral had been acquiring for the purpose of creating a new park to host large-scale events, Look for the Scrub Jays here. Other resident birds expected include Burrowing Owls, Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes. 

But the presence of the Florida Scrub Jays has become a major headache for that city.
The City had big plans for the location to create a recreational area for community sponsored festival and sporting events. Some $27 Million had already been spent acquiring the property. But development came to halt with discovery of three families of the Scrub-Jays about 2005 on the property. As the birds are on the National Protected Species List, they can not be disturbed.

Now what is the City to do?  It comes down to two chooses.  Do nothing and hope they go away or go ahead with a mitigation plan called a Habitat Conservation Plan. At a price tag of $780,025, to the City, they could get permits to go foreword with development.  The funds will be used to manage and maintain scrub-jay habitat at Alva Nature Park.  The birds will not be moved. But to cover the costs, the city council is considering a one-time fee assessed to all property owners in the Cape, of not more than eight  to ten dollars.  As the citizens have taken great measures to protected their beloved burrowing owls, I can't see how a few dollars could stand in the way.  Hopefully the future development will include suitable habitat for the birds so that they will remain and be enjoyed by so many.

Magnificent Frigatebird

Great White Egret

Reddish Egret

Wood Stork

Status - Common local resident, considered threatened on the Endangered Species List

Roseate Spoonbill

Status - Common Local Resident

Greater Flamingo

Status - Rarely Seen Visitor

The bird pictured was a very rare sighting in Lee County in 2015

. Even though the flamingo is a commonly used icon for the State of Florida, it is actually quite rare. Roseate Spoonbills have often been miss identified as flamingos, so beware that most all of the large pink birds here in Florida are not Flamingos, But were can they be seen. The shallow bays in the most southern boundaries of Everglade National Park  can host a few birds wandering over from The Bahamas. Greatest probabilities of seeing a flamingo is in the winter months and will usually require some kind of watercraft with a shallow draft'

Recently numbers of flamingos have been showing up in the spring time, using the shallow waters of the Storm Water Treatment Areas,  in western Palm Beach County.  Access is restricted and the status of these birds have been a mystery

Swallow-tailed Kites

Status - Locally Common from March through July

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a beautiful and popular raptor from Central and South America. A very small population of these kites migrate to the Southeastern United States in late February and into March for their nesting season. Most of this migrating population will stay in Florida, but numbers will spread out  from Texas to South Carolina.. Historically, they had once nested as far north as the mid-western states.

By mid-July the kites will be assembling in large concentrations, mostly, around Glades County in pre-migration roosts that can number in the hundreds.  Some of this activity can been seen locally south of the airport.  I have witnessed counts exceeding 40  birds kettling above Wild Turkey Strand Preserve.  By the end of August almost every bird has made the dangerous  flight across the Gulf of Mexico back to their winter range.  Genetic studies seem to indicate that our population will head for southern Brazil.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Status - Common Resident

Going back 50 years Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were very uncommon in Florida. After their expansion from Texas, they have become a very successful species having become a common resident species through out much of the state

Fulvous Whistling Duck 

Status - An Uncommon Resident to SW Florida

Fulvous Whistling Ducks are uncommon in SW Florida. Best locations include STA 5 in Hendry County and various locations in Palm Beach County

Check with Hendry-Glades Audubon Society on access to STA 5

Crested Caracara

Snail Kite

Short-tailed Hawk


Purple Gallinule

Gray-headed Swamphen

White-crowned Pigeon

Parrots and Parakeets
We currently have no native psittacid species in the US. Carolina Parakeets were once a common parakeet found in southeastern United States, but became extinct about a hundred years ago.

But other psittacid have filled the gap, as escapees of many parrot species have become establishes in our more southern urban areas. There success stems from the planting of many exotics flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs as well as well stocked bird feeders.

Ft Lauderdale and Miami host the greatest variety of exotic birds including dozens of parrot species.
Locally, Monk and Nanday Parakeets are found in Ft Myers, Cape Coral as well as Sarasota and Pinellas County. Rose-ringed Parakeets are found in Naples and Blue-crowned Parakeets can be found in Manatee and Pinellas County.

- Monk Parakeet

- Nanday Parakeet

- Blue-crowned Parakeet

The Blue-crowned Parakeet is a conure  species from South America. Small populations are scattered around the state. Our closest location to Ft Myers is on Ana Maria Island in Manatee County. Check bird for the latest sightings.

- Rose-ringed Parakeet

Naples has hosted a population of Rose-ringed Parakeets for a great many years.  Best to check at ebird for latest reported locations

Mangrove Cuckoo

Burrowing Owl

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Gray Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Black-whiskered Vireo

Bachman's Sparrow

Shiny Cowbird

Bronzed Cowbird

Mammals of Interest

Florida Panther


Fish Species of Interest

Smalltooth Sawfish

This species is critically threatened.  The US population has shrunk due to over fishing and habitat loss and is centered around SW Florida. Local shallow estuaries in Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands of the Everglades are critical as breeding nurseries.

Smalltooth Sawfish Status