• Andrea Bernhardt

Birds of Marco Island, Florida

Every spring I enjoy vacationing in Marco Island, Florida. There is so much to see and do especially if you are an avid photographer like me. The scenery and wildlife is very different from Minnesota and I enjoy seeing all the variety.

Green Heron along the mangroves near Isle of Capri
Green Heron along the mangrove

Common birds I have identified so far include pelican, burrowing owl, osprey, varieties of gulls like the ring-billed gull, egret, eagle, green heron, great blue heron, black vulture, variety of tern, double crested cormorant and more that I haven’t identified.

Black Vulture eating a fish and drinking some water in the morning just after sunrise
Black Vulture having a little breakfast

What's cool about bird identification is that each type of bird has many different varieties like different types of pelicans, female or male, juvenile or adult, breeding season, etc.

Adult Brown Pelican swimming in the marina looking for scraps of fish
Adult Brown Pelican

Burrowing Owls are my favorite ones to photograph because you can get relatively close and they are very photogenic. You can read more about these on my blog about burrowing owls.

Burrowing Owl in Marco Island, Florida
Burrowing Owls of Marco Island

A favorite spot for me to photograph pelicans, cormorants, egrets, and others is the Rose Marina. If you time it right when the boats come in from their excursions and clean the fish it brings all kinds of wildlife. We have even seen a seahorse by the dock as well as many tarpon waiting in the water.

Egret looking for food at the Rose Marina in Marco Island, Florida
Egret at Rose Marina

If you strike up a conversation with a fellow traveler or local, they always share fun spots to visit. This is how I learned about a cool eagle’s nest close to the marina while chatting with someone at the Marina.

Osprey sitting on a dead tree looking over the water
Osprey on the lookout

I was at a photo hike in Minnesota and mentioned I was traveling to Marco Island and a fellow traveler told me I had to look for the burrowing owls.

Black skimmer on the beach of Marco Island, Florida
Black Skimmer handing out on the beach

Walking the beach at different times of the day is a great way to spot different varieties of birds. You can also watch the sunrise and sunset or do a little shelling along the way.

There were a ton of birds along the beach just after sunrise
Walking the beach after sunrise

When you look up close and zoom in, it's amazing the detail of each bird. I had no idea that that the cormorant had just beautiful eyes!

beautiful jewel like eyes of the cormorant
Double-Crested Cormorant Eyes

I look forward to going back soon and seeing what new birds I get to see!

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