Monday, September 15, 2014

Florida's wonderful birds

Florida is home to over 480 variety of birds! A great many of these birds live here year round but some migrate here just like our human form of "snow birds".  Over 175 bird species are known to breed in Florida and almost three hundred birds migrate here in the fall spring or winter months. These sandhill cranes were a welcome surprise when I went out to get my mail. Sandhill cranes are long legged, long necked, gray, heron-like birds with a patch of bald red skin on top of their head. These large and beautiful birds can be seen in Florida pastures, prairies and freshwater wetlands in peninsular Florida from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp. This is a male and female couple and a youngster was spotted shortly after I took the picture. Cranes are monogamous breeders, and mated pairs stay together year round.

Cardinals are always easy to spot, especially a male cardinal like this one. We have several cardinals that call our backyard home and I never tire of seeing their bright red body against the green wooded background. Our male cardinal loves strutting his stuff near the bird feeder. He acts like he has worked hard to find the seeds, then he calls to the female and shares the feast with her. Often called "mate feeding"  the male cardinal picks up a seed, hops over to the female, and the two momentarily touch beaks as she takes the food. How romantic is that?

Wild turkeys are another common sight in Floridian nature. I usually spot them just after or during a rain.  The birds are seldom seen alone and in our neck of the woods they travel in groups of between 12-16.  The females are not quite as pretty as this male turkey but they are still fun to run into. I haven't figured out yet why they are out in the rain but they sure do like to come out and play or look for food during or after one of our afternoon showers.

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