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Southwest Florida's Top 5 Birding Spots to Explore

by Arelys Alexander

Southwest Florida is home to plenty of natural beauty, from the ocean to the swamps, that are home to a wide variety of beautiful birds that make this region one of the best for birding. Here are some of the top places to spot many of Florida’s wild bird species.

1. The Everglades National Park

The best way to explore this birding hotspot from a vantage point is through an expert-guided tour to capture memorable photos of birds such as the Wood Stork, the Great Egret, and the Roseate Spoonbill. 

The Everglades National Park entrance is about an hour-long drive from Central Naples. It opens up your world into 1.5 million acres of the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America, the most pristine wilderness areas in America, the River of Grass ecosystem, over seventy endangered species, and much more.

2. Big Cypress National Preserve

Thanks to its diverse ecosystem of prairies, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, estuaries, and cypress swamps, Big Cypress National Preserve is considered a great birding spot. You get a chance to explore these breathtaking habitats and watch bird species such as the Limpkin, White-tailed Kite, and the world's smallest herons known as the Least Bitten, that cling elegantly on cattails and reeds while wooing you with their cooing and clucking call-notes.

3. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Located approximately 30 minutes East of Naples, this 13,000-acre, 2.5-long boardwalk trail of the world's last old-growth Bald Cypress Forest. BirdWatchingDaily.com named the sanctuary one of the best bird-watching destinations for good reasons

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is an all-year-round home to nearly 200 bird species like Songbirds, Raptors, Summer Tanagers, Warblers, Painted Buntings, Wood Storks, White Ibis, Sandhill Crane, Tri-colored Heron, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, etc.

4. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico on Sanibel Island, or an hour north of Central Naples, about 245 species of birds call this 6400-acre nature preserve home. 

The Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife drive full of beautiful beach views, endangered species, and stunning birds such as the solitary, often secretive, and crab-eating bird called the Black-crowned Night-Heron.

Also known as the JN "Ding" National Wildlife, this refuge also offers birding sights of the Yellow-Crowned Heron. These particular species were introduced into Bermuda to bring crabs found on land under control there. You will also spot the American White Pelican, one of North America's largest birds, boasting a 9-foot wingspan and impressively soars so far up in the air.

5. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

This vast tropical paradise is for birdwatchers who want to see various shorebirds and wildlife while enjoying the peaceful and delicate natural estuaries of the Cocohatchee River, leading out to the Gulf of Mexico. Resident eagles, ospreys, owls, and other woodland species make room every fall for the migratory shorebirds so make sure you bring your camera!

From the natural beauty to the shopping, culture, and arts, Southwest Florida has a lot to offer those who call it home. Ready to join us? Contact London Bay Homes today to learn how you can take the next step toward building your dream home in Southwest Florida.

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