Freshwater Wetlands



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     Purple Gallinule                                                                                                                                 photo by Lucinda Hackney

                                                                                                                                                                                   Birds that rely on food and shelter found in Southwest Florida's swamps and wet prairies are our targets on these excursions. Most of these birds are dependent on the extreme conditions produced in the Everglades between rainy season flooding in summer through fall and severe drought by spring. 

Nearly daily rainfall between June and October creates a sheet flow of surface water several inches to several feet deep in our inland sloughs. Fish, amphibians, aquatic insects, snails and other tiny creatures swell in number during this time, along with wetland plants such as alligator flag, arrowhead, duckweed and spadderdock. The waders, ducks and other freshwater wetland-dependant birds disperse at this time to feed. 

An abrupt weather change occurs with the end of summer rains and the beginning of our drought season sometime in the fall, with very little rain until late spring. At this time the wetlands dry down, concentrating the prey these birds rely on, allowing them to  find enough food to produce and raise young.

These areas are best birded when species are concentrated and easy to find, between late November and April.

                                                We See About 70 Species Regularly n Our Freshwater Wetlands       

Pied-Billed Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tri-Colored Heron, Cattle Egret, Black-Crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, American Swallow-tailed Kite (End of Feb. through July), Snail Kite, Bald Eagle, Horthern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Red-Shoulderend Hawk (light morph), American Kestral, Wild Osceola Turkey, Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Kildeer, Black-Necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-Shafted Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Tree Swallow, American Crow, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, White-Eyed Vireo, Blue-Headed Vireo, Northern Parula, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Yellow-Throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellow-Throat, Cardinal, Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Savannah Sparrow, Red-Winged Blackbird, Boat-Tailed Grackle, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole


  Swallow-Tailed Kites                                                                                                                             Photo by Lucinda Hackney


                   Additional Birds We See Less Regularly and/or During Fall and Spring Migration in Freshwater Wetlands

 Northern Shovelers, Lesser Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, Solitary Sandpiper, Long-Billed Dowitcher, Broad-Winged Hawk, Sora,   American Bittern,  Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Red-Eyed Vireo, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, Black-Throated Green Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, American Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-Eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Summer Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch   






uired© CINDY HACKNEY 2012