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Florida Birding Festival
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
Snowbirds aren't the only visitors who flock to the Suncoast when the weather up north turns chilly. Thousands of birds, representing dozens of rare and common species, stop by Tampa Bay every fall on their migration south.
As a result, bird watchers, or "birders" as they call themselves, will come from all over the United States in October for the Florida Birding Festival. They hope to catch a glimpse of a wood stork or any of the other rare and endangered species, including the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, American kestrel, crane, snowy plover, piping plover, least tern or Florida scrub jay.
Florida's Gulf Coast also is home to numerous species of special concern, including the brown pelican, snowy egret, little blue heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret, white ibis, roseate spoonbill, limpkin, black skimmer and Florida burrowing owl.
Birding is an inexpensive outdoor sport to get involved in. All you need is a field guide and binoculars. Peterson's A Field Guide to the Birds is a good, easy-to-use introductory book, and binoculars with 7x35 power are available at any sporting goods store. Also bring a pad and pencil so you can keep a journal of what you have seen.
To register for the Florida Birding Festival, Oct. 5-8, call (877) FLA-BIRD. To learn more call (800) 822-6461.
If you can't wait until October and want to get started now, check out some of these birding hot spots:
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