Kite Tales November 2018


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Kite Tales

The monthly newsletter of the

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

eBird and iNaturalist

Technology and Birds

Have trouble putting down your smartphone? Have no fear – technology is a great resource for birding! With field guide, listing and identification apps, it has never been easier to go birding.

Everyone has a preferred field guide (Peterson, Sibley, National Geographic, etc.) and many guides now offer an app. This makes it a bit easier on your back, since you no longer must lug a big field guide on the trail. These apps also have information about birds that may be unavailable in the books. Many include pictures and drawings, so you have many perspectives to help you identify a bird. Some of the apps also include bird calls!

eBird is a great way to keep track of all the birds you see in the field. Based on lists you make in the field on your phone or computer back home, eBird builds your birding history. This free Cornell Lab of Ornithology program allows you to organize your bird life history by location, time frame and species! There is seemingly no limit with how this information can be organized and used!

iNaturalist is not just for birding – as it can give you a hand identifying all living things! Post a picture through the app or website and state your location, and your sighting may be identified by experts around the world. And if your picture is clear enough, the program’s “identotron” might just identify it for you, which suggests edits based on the picture and location.

These different apps and websites are great for helping you bird in the field, but don’t forget about paper and pencil! Sometimes old-school nature journaling and listing is great too. 

Yellow-rumped warbler (also know as a "butterbutt")

Photo by Brad Rohman

Birding Dictionary

Every hobby and activity have their own terminology, or jargon. Birding is no different, out in the field you may hear terms like “twitching”, “dipped” and “vagrants”. Here are a few commonly used birding terms that will make you sound like a pro!

Nemesis Bird (noun): a bird species that constantly eludes a specific birder.

Example: For much of my life, my nemesis bird was prothonotary warblers. Every time I went looking for them … I couldn’t find them!   

Pish (verb): using their mouth, birders make a noise that sounds like pishhhhh to try and attract songbirds into the open.

Example: I could hear the birds in the trees but couldn’t see any so I pished to draw them out.

Butterbutt (noun): a nickname for yellow-rumped warblers.

Example: “Did you see all the butterbutts up in the oaks?”

Eleven birders birding

Christmas Bird Count

We are about a month away from the annual Christmas Bird Count! But what’s it all about?

It all started in 1900 with ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, who proposed a holiday tradition of counting birds. Before this, it was holiday tradition to go out, hunt as many birds as possible and whoever shot the most birds won. This was known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” But with Chapman's innovative idea, the CBC was born. These early CBC conservationists created what has become the longest citizen science project.

You can join in by finding a CBC “circle” that you want to participate in! The upcoming worldwide Christmas Bird Count will take place from December 14, 2018 - January 5, 2019. Once you have found a count circle that works for you, contact the compiler and get involved. Be prepared for a long day out in the field counting birds, while doing your part to conserve some incredible species!

Fanning Springs State Park

Trail Site of the Month

Fanning Springs State Park is a beautiful park that should not be missed! It is a popular swimming, picnicking and lounging spot in the west section of the Birding Trail. About an hour west of Gainesville, it is in Levy County along the Suwannee River. It was once a first-magnitude spring up to the 1990s but is now a second-magnitude spring. It still produces over 65 million gallons of water daily, making it an oasis for humans and animals, which it has been for thousands of years.

From the spring, there is a pleasant boardwalk to a gazebo overlooking the Suwannee River. It is perfect for a stroll and to look for migratory warblers and year-round Carolina wrens. You will see cypress trees standing in cool spring waters and dragonflies perching in the rays of sun poking through the forest canopy.

Take the 2/3 of a mile trail from the picnic area to explore the hardwood hammock. It will wind you through a beautiful forest, where you can look for white-tailed deer, squirrels, woodpeckers and more wrens. Along the trail you may notice sinkholes formed by collapsing underground caverns. This forest community is a great place to hike even in the hot summer. The tree canopy shades the trail, and the diversity of the habitat attracts a variety of bird species.

If you haven’t visited Fanning Springs State Park, check it out. Prepare for a day full of hiking, swimming, picnicking and enjoying your time in this gorgeous Florida state park.

Site Address: 18020 NW Highway 19, Fanning Springs, Florida 32693

Contact: (352) 463-3420

Site Hours, Daily: 8:00 a.m. - sundown

Check out the eBird list for this park.


November 27 – Birding in the Garden (Naples, FL)

November 28 – Orlando Wetlands (Christmas, FL)

November 28 – Wednesday Bird Walk at the Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)

December 1 – Bird Walk at Moccasin Lake Nature Park (Clearwater, FL)

December 1 – Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 Driving Bird Tour (Clewiston, FL)

December 1 – Merritt Island Field Trip (Titusville, FL)

December 2 – Birds of Prey Field Trip (Apopka, FL)

December 2 – Lake City Treatment Wetland Bird Walk (Lake City, FL)

December 2 – Bird Walk for Beginners: Fort Caroline/Theodore Roosevelt (Jacksonville, FL)

December 3 – Clearwater Audubon Society Meeting (Clearwater, FL)

These are just a few events listed on our calendar. Check out the event page for more!

Do you know about any other bird or wildlife-related events going on in Florida? Help spread the word by letting us know! Send in the times, dates, locations and contacts to for posting on the GFBWT website.

Events must be related to birds or other wildlife and must be open to the public. Examples include interpretive programming, summer camps and family programs.


  • Technology and Birds
  • Birding Dictionary
  • Christmas Bird Count
  • Trail Site of the Month
  • Upcoming Events

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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