Monday, March 16, 2015

Birding Group Tours The Archbold Biological Station

LABELLE, FL. -- Birders visited the Archbold Biological Station during the annual birding festival this week. On Thursday, March 12th, a group of 15 people and their 2 leaders car pooled north from LaBelle for a rendezvous with Dr. Reed Bowman, Director of Avian Ecology. 

Dr. Bowman had delivered the keynote address for the Festival the night before, and brought all kinds of information about the ecology, breeding status and quirky character of Florida Scrub Jays.
The group went out into the wilds of the research station to see the birds close up. 

The Big “O” Birding Festival is an annual event held in LaBelle, Florida, 35 miles south of Archbold Biological Station. This is their 14th year and Archbold’s biological diversity and its Florida Scrub Jays are a magnet for birders. 

Dr. Bowman met the group at the Visitor’s Center and gave an overview of the mission of Archbold Biological Station and its history. Then off down the sandy trails to look for the birds. Seen nearby were great looks at Great Crested Flycatchers, a Pileated Woodpecker and White-eyed Vireo.

It was barely 10:00 am and the temperature was already in the upper 80’s. At the first stop the group learned that there are actually 4 species of scrub oak and also that the strings from palmetto fronds are the only material used by Scrub Jays to line their nests. Dr. Bowman explained that the 3 Scrub Jays being watched nearby were a young male and a mated pair having a conflict over territory. After Dr. Bowman left the group continued on their own and saw more jays, an American Swallow-tailed Kite, a Bald Eagle and a pair of Anhingas soaring high above the Station. 

Thanks to Dr. Bowman and the good folks at Archbold Biological Station for a memorable trip and a great learning experience.

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