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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June Updates

As we welcome June, most area parks and beaches have reopened with social distancing protocols in place. It is advisable to make yourself aware of the particular guidelines recommended in your municipality or intended destination. Although most of our migrant visitors have now flown north, you can still expect to see year-round residents, including wading birds, such as Wood Stork, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill and all the herons and egrets, plus songbirds such as Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird and Northern Cardinal. Summer breeders that may take a little extra effort or luck to spot include White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo and Swallow-tailed Kite. Our Doc Thomas House headquarters remains closed to the public. Please stay tuned for our timely updates and stay safe.

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


June With the Birds


In Other News . . .


Hold the Line Coalition cofounders prevail in SR-836 Extension legal challenge — Judge Rules Against Miami-Dade County plans to extend SR-836 beyond the Urban Development Boundary, into the Everglades

The wetlands that would be impacted by the proposed extension of SR-836 provide foraging and nesting habitat for the Wood Stork, a threatened species. Photo: Lorraine Minns

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A collection of articles published by National Audubon Society, featuring the Phoebes, South Florida's own women's birding group.

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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.