Great Miami Winter Bird Count 2015

10,000 Birds

For many in the birding community, Miami is a destination meant only for ticking off ABA-countable exotics such as Spot-breasted Oriole or Red-whiskered Bulbul. The warm, sunny climate beckons a wide variety of passerines, raptors, and shorebirds to spend the winter, inflating the species diversity to the extent that Miami-Dade can go toe-to-toe with counties in Texas and Arizona during this season. Song Sparrow is a genuine rarity in Miami-Dade.

2015 60

Hill Mynas: A Touch of Tropical Asia in Miami

10,000 Birds

Miami, Florida has a reputation among the birding community for being overrun with exotic bird species. One of the more unusual additions to our local avifauna is the Common Hill Myna (not to be confused with Common Myna, a parking lot obligate in Miami), a popular bird in the pet trade due to its ability to mimic human speech. Their loud, descending whistles, gurgles and screeches are a common feature of parks and suburban neighborhoods in parts of Miami-Dade.

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Miami Mega Mall vs. Everglades National Park

10,000 Birds

The Miami-Dade County Commission approved development of ‘the largest shopping mall in North America’ with a vote of 9-1 last week. The Miami-Dade Democratic Environmental Caucus submitted a formal letter of concern to the commissioners. One of the developers said that he wanted to build American Dream Miami (the official misnomer of the place) because his grandkids don’t have anything to do when it rains. Merchandising folly 1 – Conservation 0.

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Efforts to Rescue Lolita the Orca from Miami

Critter News

Animal-rights activists claim an orca is being held in an "inadequate tank" in the Miami Seaquarium. The federal complaint focuses on a whale named Lolita, who was captured more than 40 years ago, and has been held at the Miami Seaquarium. Read the rest of the article in the Courthouse News Service. They sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for excluding captive killer whales from listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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To Tick or Not to Tick – Exotic Birding in Miami

10,000 Birds

Today, if you want to see parrots in the USA you need look no further than Miami. Nearly 70 species of parrots have been recorded flying free at some stage or another in Miami, including Hyacinth Macaws. Dozens of other introduced bird species, largely escapees from pet owners, now call Miami home. Miami, with its warm climate and abundant food sources, has become a hotbed of exoticism. Red-masked Parakeets , readily seen around Miami, are not countable.

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My Big Day in Miami-Dade

10,000 Birds

For January 1st, 2013, I decided to do something a little different this year — a Big Day in Miami-Dade, which involves seeing or hearing as many species as possible within a 24-hour period inside my home county. The past record holder for Miami-Dade, my good birding friend Roberto “Toe” Torres, admitted that, as far as he knew, his not entirely serious effort of 102 species was the highest number of species recorded for the county in 24 hours.

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Best Time to Bird South Florida? Fall Migration

10,000 Birds

The second feature is that a very large proportion of the migrants flowing southward will actually remain for the length of winter, so numbers steadily build as migration draws on — remember, over two dozen warbler species spend the winter in Miami-Dade County alone.

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What’s the Next ABA-Countable Exotic?

10,000 Birds

For example, flocks of White-winged Parakeets around Miami International Airport now also contain an increasing proportion of Yellow-chevroned Parakeets — this was not true a few years ago. Although most parrot species persist only in urban and suburban areas, this small parakeet also occurs in agricultural areas of the Redlands and Homestead in southern Miami-Dade. Birding California parakeets Florida parakeets Miami birding

2015 54

Birding at the Tip of Florida: A Bit of Everything

10,000 Birds

Sure, Miami and the Florida Keys do not boast any endemics ( ‘Cape Sable’ Seaside Sparrow is close) at the species level. Nonetheless, by straddling the border between the birds from the south and those from the north (and receiving a great deal of western birds in winter as well), Miami-Dade and Monroe collectively have one of the highest county lists east of the Mississippi River. Magnolia Warbler is an annual winter resident in small numbers in Miami-Dade, FL. .

2014 59

Both Beautiful and Exotic, the Spot-breasted Oriole

10,000 Birds

First recorded in Florida in 1949, it has been gracing the mature yards and suburban parks of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties for several decades, although it has recently experienced significant declines in its population perhaps due to Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 and the severe winter cold of 2010. Considering its history in the state, appearance, and provenance, I can think of no better bird to represent Miami. Birding Exotic Miami Oriole

2012 63

South Florida Specialties Birding

10,000 Birds

On my recent short family vacation to Miami, I was granted a single day to get out and really bird like a madman. Can you believe that a New Yorker could travel all the way to Miami and not be treated to breakfast? Trips Florida MiamiOf course, I contacted Carlos Sanchez , alleged south Florida birder extraordinaire, to maximize the returns on what time I could spend.

Birding Through the Seasons at Matheson Hammock

10,000 Birds

Carlos Sanchez is an excellent birder, a Miami resident, and a polyglot. Matheson Hammock County Park is a special place to many who grew up in the Miami area, filled with the nostalgia of taking one’s first swim in the ocean, seeing their first Brown Pelicans , or dip netting through the seagrass beds to find Pygmy Seahorses (the most coveted and prized catch). Destinations Florida Matheson Hammock Miami

2012 57

Gray Kingbird: An Awesome Parking Lot Bird

10,000 Birds

Parking lots in Miami-Dade county offer a mostly standard assortment of birds compared to the rest of the United States. Every year, I look forward to their arrival in early April when they populate every parking lot in Miami from Key Biscayne to Krome Avenue. A Gray Kingbird perched in a small live oak in the middle of a suburban parking lot in Miami. Unfortunately, Gray Kingbirds will not be staying in Miami for much longer this year.

2014 78

Artist Sentenced for Wildlife Trafficking

10,000 Birds

Artist Enrique Gomez De Molina was sentenced to 20 months in prison and a $6,000 fine in Miami on Friday for trafficking in illegal and threatened wildlife. The artist used parts of animals to create his art: De Molina’s Miami attorney Ben Kuehne said the artist was “extremely remorseful and apologetic,” while fully acknowledging his actions which were opposite to what he meant to express with his art: that humans menace the rich diversity of wildlife.

Collective Arts Brewing: Jam Up Passion Fruit & Peach

10,000 Birds

But if you’re heading south in the coming weeks, Jam Up is certainly a good beer to have on hand if the mercury starts creeping in to the 70s down in Miami or Phoenix. As we near the end of January, we enter the peak of the winter “snowbird” season.

Upcoming Potential ABA-countable Exotics from Florida

10,000 Birds

These aggressive, boisterous yet attractive geese have begun building a population in Florida from a few accidental escapes from waterfowl collections (Crandon Gardens in Miami-Dade being the most famous). An exotic bird survey organized by local birders in Miami-Dade a couple years ago recorded over a hundred in that county alone in a relatively small percentage of the county, indicating that the overall population will likely be over a thousand individuals very soon if it is not already.

2013 73

On the Land Grant University Meat Problem

Animal Person

Our most insidious institution -- as my talk in Miami in 10 days (August 29th) will explain! If you know anyone in Miami and vicinity who might enjoy an eye-opening evening among eye-opening evenings, let me know and I'll e-mail or mail you a flier to give them -- or will send it straight to them if you give me the information.

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Why Is the Federal Government Awarding Contracts to a Company That Was Involved in Smuggling Primates?

Critter News

Here is a synopsis from a Brown University web site about his case : Matthew Block, of Worldwide Primates, Miami, FL, was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison, three years of supervised probation, and a $30,000 fine at a 2-day sentence hearing on April 16, 1993. Worldwide Primates Inc. was started by Mathew Block to import primates into the US for animal experimentation. In 1993, he went to prison for smuggling baby orangutans.

2009 122

Guy Who Trained Flipper Protests Dolphin Slaughter

Critter News

O’Barry has been on a dolphin-protection crusade since the day in 1970 that Kathy, one of the dolphins that played Flipper, died in a steel tank at the Miami Seaquarium while he was holding her. I just read this story today. The moment Flipper died in his arms, Richard O’Barry was transformed from a dolphin trainer into an activist determined to free captive dolphins around the world. That was 39 years ago.

The Power of Pets

4 The Love Of Animals

San Diego; Austin, Texas; Miami; and Portland, Ore. Community Dog Walks Will Be Co-Hosted by local YMCAs in Cities across the Country. Mars Petcare announced it will sponsor a series of “Woof Walk” fun runs as part of THE POWER OF PETS™ program for 2011. Co-hosted by local YMCAs nationwide, the events will feature a two- to three-kilometer community dog walk, as well as healthy and fun activities for the whole family. As avid walkers, we love this idea and wanted to help spread the word!

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But…It’s a Canada Goose?

10,000 Birds

Luis Gonzalez is a Miami resident and IT major who was originally born and raised in Cuba.

2020 68

Sanderlings; Time well spent

10,000 Birds

My travels this week took me to Miami , where the ocean could barely summon the energy to lap gently against the sand. A day spent with Sanderlings is surely a day well spent. Even when they are not feeding in their endearing manner, chasing the waves back and forth, Sanderlings are still one of the most watchable birds that you are ever likely to see. I missed my OCD therapy session today and do you know, it didn’t matter.

2012 65

The Birds of March Madness

10,000 Birds

Miami Hurricanes (represented by their American White Ibis, Sebastian). Greetings, 10,000 Birds readers! I’m thrilled to be contributing all the little tidbits I find to the Nature News beat. And there’s little that’s newsier (in the U.S., at least) at the moment than the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournament! Birds have already begun making their presence known on the court.

Fur Free Fashion Show Winners Announced

Critter News

Winners First Place: Tammy Apostol, an independent designer in Miami, FL, for her “Green Organic Cotton Gown,” a strapless mermaid silhouette gown with a back train. Received this press release yesterday.

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Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of June 2012)

10,000 Birds

However, I spotted that egregious invasive while in Miami during a layover fro Trinidad and Tobago. Happy belated Father’s Day to everyone who observed it this weekend. Just to keep that sweet paternal vibe going, I’m going to award double points to anyone whose best bird of the weekend was seen in the company of a dad or by a dad with his child. Oh, you didn’t know we were keeping score?

2012 59

Winter Wood-Warblers in Southeast Florida

10,000 Birds

Carlos Sanchez is an excellent birder, a Miami resident, and a polyglot. Over twenty species of wood-warbler may be recorded in a single winter in Miami-Dade County, with several more species recorded regularly in Monroe and Broward. Corey was lucky enough to meet Carlos while birding in Ecuador , where Carlos was dragooned into accompanying the horde of Queens birders for the day, an encounter that somehow didn’t turn him off of all things New York.

A Birder’s Version of Oktoberfest

10,000 Birds

Autumn migration gets off to an inauspicious start in Miami-Dade with the appearance of a small selection of passerines at local migrant traps at mid-July. Oktoberfest is the term coined by birders in Miami-Dade county to refer to a time of plenty [of migrants], when a visit to a local suburban park might yield up to twenty or more species of warbler on a good day.

2012 69

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Costa Rica: A Field Guide–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

in Zoology from the University of Miami and was director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound for fifteen years.

The Fate of the Florida Anis

10,000 Birds

According to the Florida Breeding Bird Atlas, the first confirmed breeding record was in Miami in July of 1938. Significant amounts of habitat along Krome Avenue in western Miami-Dade as well as Everglades National Park remain, but even the colonies present at Anhinga Trail and Eco Pond have disappeared — a true mystery.

2013 72

The Warbler Duo of Florida’s Mangroves

10,000 Birds

However, the bulk of the population breeds in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties at the southern tip of the state, particularly around the mangrove fringed coasts and islets of Florida and Biscayne Bay. Unlike the more northerly races, Florida’s Yellow Warblers are completely restricted to red mangrove habitats, ranging only as far north as Matheson Hammock County Park in Miami-Dade (but with a recent record in Coconut Grove a few miles to the north — range expansion?)

2013 69

Roosting Common Nighthawk

10,000 Birds

It was a real pleasure to have a friend and colleague, Simon, accompany me on a visit to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Miami this week. His good company was surpassed only by his keen eye that picked out a Mangrove Cuckoo lifer for me and a roosting Common Nighthawk. My experience of Common Nighthawks had previously been at dusk as they begin hunting for the night.

2012 60

The Endangered Florida Bonneted Bat

10,000 Birds

The bat was once believed to be common on Florida’s eastern coast in the Miami-Coral Gables area but reported there only a few times since the mid-1960s. You may not have heard about the Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumops floridanus) , and that is fine, not many know this bat even existed. This bat is rare and range-restricted in South Florida, which are some of the reasons it was recently listed as an endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

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The Littel Big Year – Week 45: Wrapping up the Bahamas

10,000 Birds

We did however gain an extra night, at our expense in Miami, Florida, all of which was in the dark, so I could not even run out and put a couple of birds on a Florida State List. We have escaped the clutches of the Bahamas, and are finally back “home” in Tucson, Texas. The return home included a total of 5 ½ hours of flight delays, one missed flight, and we subsequently missed the entire town of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Big Years in 2013

10,000 Birds

Rangel Diaz is doing a big year in Miami-Dade County, Florida, hoping to reach 300 species, and keeping a blog about it. On a Big Year, every species counts equally, even the lowly House Sparrow. Last year saw quite a few big year records fall to dedicated birders. There are, of course, more big years happening this year. What records will fall in 2013? The following is not an exhaustive list, of course, but hopefully we will learn of more big years in the comments.

2013 74

Welcome to Carlos Sanchez, Our New South Florida Beat Writer

10,000 Birds

A Miami native and resident, Carlos is perfectly situated to write about South Florida, which will be his beat, though it would not be the least bit surprising if he occasionally writes about birds and birding further afield. We would like everyone to give a warm welcome to the latest Beat Writer here on 10,000 Birds, Carlos Sanchez.

2012 56

Saguaro National Park: Cacti as Oases in the Desert

10,000 Birds

Much like how Everglades National Park flanks the western border of metropolitan Miami, Florida, Saguaro National Park flanks both the eastern and western outskirts of Tucson, making for easy access to residents and tourists alike who spend time in that city.

2013 58

Birding in Honduras, Part I: Highlands

10,000 Birds

A pair of Spot-breasted Orioles were a welcome sighting, having personally lead many clients to their life Spot-breasted Oriole in Miami for their ABA list but having never seen one in their original range. In September, I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to an increasingly popular destination for birding: Honduras.

But What Do Flamingos Mean?

10,000 Birds

Flamingos represented Vegas and Miami and pre-Castro Cuba. Why can’t I shut up about this? In 1999, a woman named Jennifer Price published a fascinating — if since largely forgotten — book called Flight Maps. Flight Maps was a collection of essays about the interactions between culture and nature in the U.S., and the most memorable part of the book, the section that inspired the cover art, was the essay “A Brief Natural History of the Pink Flamingo.”

2012 54

The Razorbill Invasion of Florida

10,000 Birds

On December 11, 2012, an observer saw one at Government Cut in Miami-Dade right off the pier which was quickly followed by a sighting of three birds off Singer Island in Palm Beach, two birds filmed off Fort Lauderdale, and another bird photographed off of Crandon Beach in Key Biscayne — already an unprecedented number of records. Razorbills ( Alca torda ) have invaded the coastal waters of Florida on an unprecedented scale this December of 2012.

2013 Big Year Update

10,000 Birds

Rangel Diaz’s big year in Miami-Dade County, Florida, is going well. European Starlings count as much as any other bird on a big year. Now seems like a good time to look in on the birding big years happening in 2013 to see how folks are doing as they tear around their county or region or state or province or country trying to see as many birds as possible before 1 January 2014.

2013 70

Florida’s Mysterious Wintering Brown-crested Flycatchers

10,000 Birds

Brown-crested Flycatchers arrive at their wintering locations in Miami-Dade in autumn, although most records come from the months of January through March when the birds are more actively calling than earlier in the season — their distinctive calls making them easy to differentiate from the more widespread Great Crested Flycatchers.

2013 68

Invasive Species Week Wrap-Up

10,000 Birds

Welcome to Invasive Species Week! – Alien Species - Rose-ringed Parakeet - The Charge of the Egyptian Goose – Hill Mynas in Miami – Grallards : New Zealand’s Next Extinction or Newest Species? Invasive is such an ugly word, isn’t it? An invader, after all, is nothing if not unwelcome. Even the word “ invade ” describes intrusions described colorfully as forceful, hostile, destructive, and even injurious.

2014 56

Jamaica Birding Trip 2013 Part 1

10,000 Birds

One of the perks about living in Miami is that plane tickets to the bird-rich Caribbean, Central, and South America are often cheaper than going to places like Arizona, Colorado, or California.

2013 64