Calling all birdwatchers! Migratory birds arriving in Central Florida

Delayed dry season making it difficult to spot some birds

ORLANDO, Fla.- – The weather is turning cooler, up north anyway, and that means birds that typically don't live here will call Central Florida home for a few months. Kimberley King-Wrenn, visitor services manager at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge says small songbirds and warblers have arrived.

One of the more popular visitors, the painted bunting, has also started showing up. King-Wrenn says the fan-favorite looks like they have been colored by a kindergartner and can now be seen at the feeders outside the visitors center.

The painted bunting originates in the Southeast and South Central U.S. As the weather gets colder, they migrate deeper into Mexico and Central Florida.

King-Wrenn says that this is the best time of the year to see birds native to Florida as well. Some of the most popular birds to see on the refuge, the reddish egret and roseate spoonbill nest in more remote areas, but now that the nesting season is over, they are venturing out.

This season, however, due to the delayed dry season, it's more difficult to see the birds.

The birds are there, but with there being more water than normal, the birds are more spread out. King-Wrenn says once the dry season arrives and the refuge starts to dry out, the birds will concentrate to where the water remains, therefore making it easier to see big flocks. Once that occurs, Black Point Wildlife Drive is a great option.

If you’re interested in the ducks that migrate to Central Florida, King-Wrenn says a few have started to show up, but more will arrive as we get deeper into fall and winter.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.