Mission

To conserve and restore South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats.

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Chirping About . . .

Backyard Birding at Virus Time

Coral Gables Magazine

May 11, 2020 Mike Clary

Backyard Birding is a Thing – and a Temporary Way to Leave the News and Coronavirus Behind

In many ways, the coronavirus has stopped life mid-flight. We are not coming and going. We are staying. And that may be one of the silver linings to all this. We now have time to look around where we live, to notice things we ignored during our busy lives. For example, backyard birding.

I myself have been watching a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers construct a home in a dead palm tree in the yard of my next-door neighbor. The tap-hammering goes on from dawn to dusk. From time to time one of the birds pops out of the growing cavity to spit out a beak-full of sawdust which rains down onto the grass. This couple will soon be settling in to raise a family.

These birds – along with cardinals, mockingbirds, blue jays, palm warblers and other familiar neighborhood species – offer reassurance that the world has not been forever knocked off its axis.

“In a way this shutdown has forced us to take a little quiet time, stare out the window, sit out in the yard and watch nature right outside your doorstep,” says Gables resident Joe Barros, a dentist who is also president of the Tropical Audubon Society. “It takes you away from the constant barrage of the news. It’s a cleansing of the brain.”

It is springtime, after all, and the air is filled with avian activity and birdsong, Barros points out. You might spot a bright red cardinal calling from a treetop. Also, a screeching mob of blue jays chasing away a Cooper’s hawk. Moreover, way up high, spy a circling pair of swallow-tailed kites, just arrived from Central America and looking for a nesting site. “It’s a beautiful time of year,” says Barros.

Expert birders like Barros keep life lists – every species they have seen, anywhere in the world – and yard lists. His life-long yard list, much of it from the Gables, is 92 species long.

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May Updates

Perching at home to Flatten the Curve!

As we all continue to practice physical distancing and social responsibility, your health and well-being, and that of our staff, remain our top priorities. To help flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve, our Doc Thomas House headquarters remains closed and our staff continues to work from home. Near-term birding trips and events are cancelled or postponed. We will continue to re-evaluate weekly and keep you informed.

While our "new normal" routines vary, we all share an enduring love of birds and nature. Now more than ever, birds can bring us joy and provide a much-needed connection to the natural world. Birding in your backyard or neighborhood is the perfect prescription for cabin fever. You can also join our online birding forums to share your sightings and stay abreast of local birding updates. (Visit the Bird Board on our website or join our new Facebook Bird Board.)

Be assured that during tranquil or turbulent times our Conservation Mission remains foremost: To conserve and restore South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats.

See our "May with the Birds" for information on current cancellations and postponements.


May With the Birds


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Upcoming TAS Birding Tours!

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) Photo by Alexander Dzib

Mexico: Birding the Ruins of the Yucatan
Thursday, January 21 to Sunday, January 31, 2021
Spaces Available

Leaders: TAS Field Trip Coordinator Brian Rapoza and a local guide. Fee: $2,745.00 per person double occupancy, $345.00 single supplement. Fee includes transportation, lodging, guides and park fees. Not included is round-trip airfare to the Yucatan (arrival in Cozumel, departure from Merida), tips, laundry costs or other incidental expenses. To register or to view a detailed itinerary, click here. A $200.00 deposit is due at time of booking, balance of payment due by October 18, 2020.

For a complete list of upcoming TAS birding tours, click here.