Birding in Central Florida Has Some Unique Challenges

bear in woods
Florida Black Bear. Photo: Mary Keim
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 
  • Bird with a trusted friend. Traveling in groups can make you feel comfortable, and he or she may spot birds you don’t!
  • Be aware of your surroundings. While using binoculars, you can be distracted. Watch where you’re walking.
  • Cell phone coverage is not always guaranteed.
  • Research directions in advance. Have a paper map or a map downloaded to your phone and local emergency phone numbers, just in case. Make sure your phone is charged.
  • Bring water and snacks. Wear a hat and be prepared for wind, heat or cold, depending on the season. 
  • Be prepared for sudden thunderstorms, and keep an eye on the weather. 
  • Set a reminder on your phone if you’re worried about staying out too long. Pay attention to closing time, if you’re in a gated park, to make sure you don’t get locked in.
  • Be prepared for wildlife. Know what to do in case of encountering bears, snakes, alligators, stinging insects or fire ants.
  • Keep valuables out of sight, especially if you’re parking at an out-of-the-way trailhead.
  • Don’t bird on the road! If you spot a bird and want to take a look, pull completely off the road to a safe place. This applies to birding while biking too—pull to the side of the trail to let others pass.
  • Trust your intuition. If you are in a situation in which you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, leave and think about coming back another day.