Birdwatching in Florida's Capital City

By Andy Wraithmell

Tallahassee is the perfect home base for exploring the natural wonders of the eastern Panhandle — St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Wakulla Springs and Apalachicola National Forest are all nearby.

Easily accessed along Lighthouse Road, St. Marks offers countless amounts of winter ducks and enormous alligators. Bitterns and manatees can be spotted on the Wakulla Springs river boat cruise. Apalachicola National Forest is home to more than 1,500 red-cockaded woodpecker families; there is no better place on earth to see this special bird.

In spring and summer, Bachman’s sparrows are a common sight, and the elusive Swainson’s warbler sings from titi trees that form thickets along the forest’s many creeks.

Tallahassee offers miles of canopy roads and large tracts of public green space where white-breasted nuthatches, Mississippi kites and red-headed woodpeckers can be spotted while waiting for a traffic light to change.

During fall migration, Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park attracts cerulean warblers, scarlet tanagers and wood thrushes. Lafayette Heritage Trail Park’s miles of multi-use trails wind through a variety of habitats where purple gallinules, wood storks and bald eagles are just a sample of what you can enjoy viewing.

Occasionally, an unexpected visitor shows up. In 2012, Florida’s first and only Costa’s hummingbird visited a Tallahassee backyard attracting birders from all over the Southeastern U.S. Whether it’s a first-state record, or flocks of hungry, wintering waxwings, we promise you will enjoy our birds and wildlife. So grab your binoculars and camera, and Visit Tallahassee.

Happy Birding!

Andy Wraithmell
Birding and Wildlife Expert


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