Birding Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

On Florida’s east coast near Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island Refuge is world-famous as a birding destination. More than 320 species have been documented here. Each winter hundreds of thousands of migratory birds use the refuge as a rest stop or winter in refuge impoundments. During warmer months, resident wading birds, shore birds, songbirds and raptors forage in refuge marshes, open waters and forests.

Two refuge trails (Scrub Ridge and Pine Flatwoods) provide the best place to see the endemic Florida Scrub-jay. Other species of interest here include Saltmarsh Sparrow, Roseate Spoonbill, and Reddish Egret. Viewing platforms also allow visitors a chance to observe manatees, which sometimes gather in groups of a dozen or more.

Roseate Spoonbills at Merritt Island NWR by Jonathan Milak

Roseate Spoonbills at Merritt Island NWR by Jonathan Milak

Have you birded this refuge? If so, tell us about it in the comments:

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