Best time to visit Pensacola, FL

Birdwatching

In winter, Pensacola area is heaven for a birder

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Every year, flocks of northern birds arrive in Florida to spend their winter. Pensacola Bay with its numerous marshlands, bayous, wetlands, and vast sea shore is especially attractive for waterfowl species. Gulf Islands National Seashore on Pensacola Beach and nature preserves on Perdido Key is the first stopover for migrating birds in the spring season. Therefore the peak birdwatching time here is late February and March. However, there is a lot to see through the rest of the year as well. After all, Pensacola is home to at least 300 species of birds, including the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and brown pelicans.

Top birding spots in the Pensacola Bay Area include Big Lagoon State Park, which serves as a gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail. The park hosts many migrating songbirds and is also home to over 20 species of wood-warbler, various ducks, sandpipers, and black-bellied plovers.

Gulf Islands National Seashore with its secluded pristine coastline is the main attraction for migrating birds. You can spot here many warblers, tanagers, plovers, and oriels. Blue heron and the bald eagle can be seen in this part of Florida year-round.

Bayou Marcus Wetlands feature an 8,000-ft (2,400-m) elevated boardwalk and a large pond that suits perfectly for observing wildlife. You can spot wintering blue-winged teal, the weedy edges, brown-headed nuthatches, and pine warblers.