Behold the loud sonorous, watchful savannah cranes with
  musical clangor in detached squadrons.

  At first they move from the earth heavy and slow.

They labour and beat the dense air.

They form the line with wide extended wings, tip to tip.

They all rise and fall together as one bird.

Now they mount aloft, gradually wheeling about..."

Above: Snowy Egrets
photo courtesy Florida Parks

More Florida Wildlife

Birding Hotspots

Birding Equipment, Etiquette & Economics

Birding Festivals

Guided Tours

G.K. Sharman is an independent journalist specializing in travel, news and lifestyle writing. Her stories have appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, AAA World, AAA Today and Car & Travel. She lives in Sanford, Florida with a pair of bird-loving felines.

By G.K. Sharman

That's how William Bartram, an 18th-century traveler and naturalist, described the behavior of birds we call sandhill cranes at their winter watering hole on Lake Harney, a wide spot on the St. Johns River that forms what is now part of the Seminole-Volusia county line.

Bartram, who wandered through in 1774 as part of a 4-year exploratory trek from the Carolinas to the Mississippi, certainly wasn't the first guy to watch birds in the Sunshine State. But he is the first (that we know of) to record his observations.

So when you grab your binoculars, your field guide, your life list and the other accouterments of modern birding, rest assured that you're in celebrated company. And grab them you should. Florida is one of the world's birdwatching hot spots. Just as Hawaii and California are meccas for surfing devotees, Florida is one of the places a true birder simply must visit. Only Texas and California rank higher in the bird-watcher's pecking order. More than 460 species live here and some can be seen nowhere else.

Absolutely Florida explores some choice birding locations and what species you're likely to spot, where you can adopt a bird of prey, tips on birding etiquette, what to bring along and other interesting Florida birding facts.

For more information, get this book from

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For more information, get this book from

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