Birding on Sanibel Island, Florida

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Visiting Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Birding Hotspots on Sanibel Island

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge appears on any list of the top 10 birding spots in Florida. At a birding "hot spot" like Ding Darling you may observe hundreds of species in just a few days. 230 species of birds occur in this Sanibel wildlife refuge.

If you time your visit to the refuge to coincide with an early morning low tide during the winter months, so much the better. But the refuge isn't the only spot on the island where birds can be observed. Ospreys are nearly as common as crows and can be seen all over the island. White pelicans show up around Thanksgiving and hang around the refuge until March.

Sanibel has a good population of Pileated woodpeckers, some of which we saw on a daily basis. They were in the mangrove swamps as well as perched on the trunks of dry woodland trees.

Where to See Birds on Sanibel Island

All of the beaches have shorebirds, terns and gulls. We even saw a juvenile red-shouldered hawk hunting in the beach dunes. Ospreys are everywhere.

Copyright: David McRee,