Kite Tales - October 2017


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Kite Tales

the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's monthly newsletter

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Trail site closures

On September 10 and 11, 2017, Hurricane Irma impacted much of Florida. As a result, many of our 510 sites are partially or totally closed. See the links below for an update on the status of all Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail sites throughout the state. Check the home page of our website for further updates as sites begin opening for public use. However, be aware that some sites, particularly those in South Florida, may be closed for several months. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Panhandle Section - all sites are open with the exception of St. Vincent NWR

West Section

East Section

South Section

Black Skimmer by Dan Pancamo USFWS

Impacts from Irma

We love wildlife, right? And when tough conditions occur that affect the natural environment, we worry about our furry, feathered and/or scaly friends. It’s important to remember that Florida’s native wildlife evolved alongside hurricanes, floods, droughts, fire and other conditions that seem to us to be disasters. They are well-suited to withstand tough times and healthy populations will bounce back, given a chance, but we can do some things to help them through. High winds can strip fruits and berries from trees and bushes, so keeping bird feeders stocked, especially during migration season, is a good idea.  Protecting habitat from over-development, restoring degraded habitat, and keeping pollution and hazardous waste well away can help wildlife get back on their feet/wings. Flooding can cause snakes and other reptiles to move around looking for higher ground. Be aware as you are cleaning up brush, and give snakes a wide berth so they can get to safety. They play a vital role in Florida’s ecology, even in our neighborhoods and yards! For more information on what the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is doing to help wildlife recover from this season’s hurricanes, visit

Wings Over Florida participants by Andy Wraithmell

Wings Over Florida Field Trip

2017 is the 75th Anniversary of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Management Area system. As part of this year long celebration, Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail staff Andy Wraithmell and Whitney Gray will be leading a bird and butterfly walk at L. Kirk Edwards Wildlife and Environmental Area near Tallahassee on Saturday October 7. Register HERE.

We will search for Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Towhee, Summer Tanager, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and more. Early October is the perfect time for songbird migrants so we will look hard for warblers, thrushes and cuckoos. Butterfly watching can be very rewarding at this time of year. Several species of swallowtail will be present plus Zebra Longwing, Gulf Fritillary, American Lady and many sulphurs and yellows.

Participants will have the opportunity to earn their first Wings Over Florida birding and butterfly certificates. Wings Over Florida is a free bird and butterfly listing recognition program that rewards people for their Florida life list and big year list achievements. Certificates are awarded to participants when they reach one or multiple listing milestones. We offer 6 birding life list certificates, 1 big year birding certificate and 6 butterfly life list certificates. For more information about this program visit our website.

Brown-headed Nuthatch by Whitney Gray

Trail Site of the Month

Chipley Park & Lake DeFuniak

If you're traveling along I-10 in the Panhandle and need a break, check out this small but fun birding trail site in DeFuniak Springs. Brown-headed Nuthatches and Red-headed Woodpeckers are common residents. In winter, look for Ring-necked Ducks and scarce visitors such as Dark-eyed Junco have been recorded. Visit our website for more details and photographs.


  • Hurricane Irma
  • Chipley Park
  • Wings Over Florida


The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 510 sites spread throughout the state. The Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will continue to make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends.



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