Sanibel Island is known for its beautiful migratory bird population. In fact, there are over 250 birds recognized for being in Sanibel at all different times of the year. Some species are fairly common, while others are very rare. Every bird is special in its own way, but we are excited to tell you about our favorite birds that you can spot around Sanibel!
1. The Great Egret
Great Egrets are among Southwest Florida’s most iconic feathered residents. This bird also known as the common egret, large egret or (in the Old World) great white heron, is a large, widely-distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world. It builds tree nests in colonies close to water.
2. Roseate Spoonbill
The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) (sometimes placed in its own genus Ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean,Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States and on central Florida’s Atlantic coast Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center.
3. American White Pelican
Among the world’s heaviest flying birds, the American White Pelican migrates to Florida’s balmy shores, seeking reprieve from harsh northern winters. These massive water birds are easily distinguishable from their cousins—the brown pelicans—due to their snow-white complexion, striking yellow-orange beak and black flight-feathers, which are only visible when their wings expand.
4. American Peregrine Falcon
Few species cover ground – or air for that matter – quite like the American Peregrine Falcon. Incredibly powerful and fast, these predatory birds soar astonishing distances to hunt and breed. During Florida summers, you’re likely to see them perched on high branches, waiting patiently to swoop in and strike upon unsuspecting shorebirds.
The Anhinga is named for an ancient Brazilian word meaning “snakebird.” These birds hunt for prey by cruising just below the surface of shallow waters, leaving only their head and slender neck exposed. At first glance, this behavior makes them look very similar to a slithering snake.