For decades the birding hotspot for viewing wading birds in all of America has been Everglades National Park, the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the continental United States.
In Central Florida, the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive on the North Shore is one of the state's top 5 locations and the best inland birding site. The Black Point Wildlife Drive is a top spot for wintering wildfowl from December though February.Florida has the largest number of nesting bald eagles of any state except Alaska. Where to see Nesting Bald Eagles.
Roseate spoonbills, one of Florida's most recognizable birds thanks to its paddle-like bill, is easy to find when nesting.
Red-cockaded woodpeckers require a specialized habitat that modern development has impacted. Yet the nesting birds are not difficult to locate if you know the right places.
Florida Keys are also an excellent spot for finding birds not only on
land but offshore, in the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Steam
flows into Florida from the Caribbean, bringing with it many pelagic
species that are rarely if ever viewed from shore.
One of the best bird watching spots is Dry Tortugas National Park, which can be reached only by boat. From March to mid-August, between 80,000-100,000 sooty terns nest on Bush Island.
Visit A Heronry
In spring and summer, one of the best ways to see large numbers of birds is to visit a heronry, where both white and great blue herons often congregate in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. Be sure to bring binoculars or a spotting scope since you're allowed to get only so close to a heronry.
The great blue heron often shares its nesting territory with the tri-color heron, little blue heron, green heron, the yellow-crowned and black-crowned night heron, the snowy egret, the great egret, anhingas and sometimes even wood ibis.
In South Florida, these species may be joined by what are sometimes called "big white herons." These actually are great blues in a white phase. The body is totally white; the bill, legs and feet are yellow; and the eye has a bluish-green patch around it. This white phase is peculiar strictly to South Florida.
The islands at Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, located about a two-hour drive north of Tampa, contain one of the largest heron nesting grounds anywhere in the South. Boat tours are easy to arrange, and a few operators specialize in trips for birders. Contact the Chamber of Commerce at 904\543-5600.
Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville is one of the
Southeast's great nesting grounds for herons: tri-colored, great blue,
little blue and green herons, plus ibis and egrets. This location is
considered to have the best assembly of all the different species anywhere
on the entire U.S. East Coast. Check at the refuge center for location
of the most accessible nests. This is also a great place
for wintering waterfowl,
beginning in November and peaking in January.