Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birding Tours Popular In Hendry

Thousands Visit Hendry To Watch Birds

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The South Florida Water Management District and its partners at the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society recently celebrated five years of bird-watching tours in a wetland that cleans water flowing to the Everglades. The popular trips featuring recreation on public land at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 will continue in 2011.

Audubon volunteers, with support from the District, have led 108 individual tours with more than 4,250 birders and photographers from across the world at the site in Hendry County. Stormwater Treatment Areas are the water-cleaning workhorses of Everglades restoration, and many have become renowned havens for wildlife.

More than 187 species of birds ­ from endangered Everglades snail kites to great egrets ­ and tens of thousands of individual birds have been documented at STA-5 alone. To enhance the experience at the wetland, the District constructed a multipurpose bird watching platform that is fully accessible to disabled residents and visitors.

"STA-5, 'the Birding Oasis of South Florida,' is increasing in popularity with birders and photographers of all ages. Reservations for tours are made by vacationing bird watchers months in advance," said Margaret England, President of the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society.

England and a team of volunteers lead the tours two Saturdays a month, with special events in between. They recently hosted Danish birders, and the tours earned a feature in the April 2009 edition of Birder's World Magazine.

The birding experience is not only limited to guided tours. Many Audubon volunteers and tour goers also participate in the Spring and Fall North American Migration Count, the Great Backyard Bird Count, the Big "O" Birding Festival and the Christmas Bird Count.

The latest season of tours has already begun, and trips are scheduled well into 2011.

Upcoming Birding Events:

·         February 5 – STA-5 Bird Tour

·         February 19-21 – Great Backyard Bird Count

·         March 23-26 – Big O Birding Festival

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