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Birds of Sanibel



© Clair Postmus

Sanibel is a birder’s paradise. Our beaches attract snowbirds pausing on their seasonal migrations; mangrove islands on the island’s bay side serve as rookeries. The wetlands found at SCCF’s Nature Center and Center Tract Preserve, in the Sanibel Gardens Preserve, and in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge provide abundant opportunities for bird-watching.

Most of the species of “long-legged waders” are found in Southwest Florida, where they are abundant, year-round residents. There is no better place to observe and study these birds than Sanibel and surrounding waters, where most of them feed regularly in such areas as the “Ding” Darling Refuge and nest in big mixed colonies on mangrove islands in adjacent Pine Island Sound. Principally because of a sub-tropical climate, one can expect to find birds nesting in our area in every month of the year with the possible exception of October.


© Clair Postmus

During the winter months, SCCF – in cooperation with the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society -- conducts birding tours on Foundation Preserves that are normally not open to the public.

Birding tip: During the fall, winter and spring, serious Sanibel birders know to visit Lighthouse point in the early morning, when large numbers of migrating birds can be found resting in the trees.

Click here to download our Sanibel Bird List PDF.