Bird Watching in Tallahassee

By Liz Schold

Tallahassee lies in one of the most biologically diverse regions of the United States, making it a perfect destination to see incredible birds and wildlife. Whether you prefer a leisurely hike in a local park or an off-the-beaten-path adventure, there is abundant wildlife to see almost everywhere you look.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit for anyone who is birding in the Panhandle. A leisurely drive to the coast along Lighthouse Road will yield sightings of bald eagles, wading birds and flocks of winter ducks. The refuge has also seen many unexpected species over the years, with recent visitors including a vermillion flycatcher and an American flamingo! Visitors to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park can take a guided boat tour to see black-crowned night herons, flocks of white ibis and even manatees in the cooler winter months. A drive along quiet wildflower-lined roads will take you to Apalachicola National Forest, one of the best places in the country to see the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker among the longleaf pines.

You don’t have to travel far to see incredible wild sights — within county limits, you can visit Elinor Klapp-Phipps ParkAlfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park and Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. Explore miles of well- maintained trails as you look for migrating birds in spring and fall. Be sure not to overlook Lake Elberta Park; this small park just minutes from downtown boasts a bird list of nearly 200 species. For an in-town adventure that’s off the beaten path, explore L. Kirk Edwards Wildlife and Environmental Area, where you can see Bachman’s sparrows, wood storks and gopher tortoises.

Grab your binoculars and camera, put on your hiking boots and hit the trail — in Tallahassee, every day is a great day to go birding!

Be on the lookout for these pretty birds:

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed kites are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful birds in Florida, with their distinctive silhouette and graceful flight.

Roseate Spoonbill

With their vibrant pink plumage and namesake spoon-like bills, these distinctive birds are always fun to see.

Purple Gallinule

The rich purple and green plumage of this marsh bird contrasts with their startlingly bright yellow legs and red and yellow bill.

Wood Duck

With their colorful plumage and distinctive crest, wood ducks are one of the most beautiful species of waterfowl around.

Great Egret

The showy feathers of the Great Egret in its breeding plumage are undoubtedly gorgeous. Once hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes, these birds are once again a common sight.



Liz Schold


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