The bird theme is particularly fitting for TPA. Florida is home to more than 500 species that are either year-round residents, stay here for the winter or use the state as a migratory rest stop – with many found in Tampa Bay.
Great Egret: Commonly found throughout the Tampa Bay region, the Great Egret is a tall, stately white bird that inhabits marshes, ponds, shores and mud flats. The bird was nearly wiped out in the late 1800s by plume hunters, but has made a strong comeback due to early conservationists’ efforts.
Black Skimmer: In the same family as gulls and terns, the Black Skimmer is found in coastal waters protected from local surf and is often seen resting on sandbars and beaches. The bird features an uneven bill – the bottom is longer than the top – that helps with feeding. When feeding, the lower mandible will plow through the water and, when it makes contact with a fish, will come snapping shut.
Bald Eagle: The majestic Bald Eagle is the emblem bird of the United States. It’s commonly found in all seasons in Florida, making its home on the coast, along rivers and large lakes and even near swamps.
Roseate Spoonbill: The Roseate Spoonbill is known for its gorgeous pink hue and is found in coastal Florida, Texas and southwest Louisiana. Spoonbills were virtually eliminated from the United States as a side-effect of the destruction of wader colonies by plume hunters. The bird is still uncommon and vulnerable to degradation of feeding and nesting habitats. Associated with other wading birds, Roseate Spoonbills feed in shallow waters by walking forward slowly and swinging their heads from side to side, allowing them to sift through the muck with wide flat bills.
White Ibis: A member of the ibis and spoonbill family, the White Ibis is one of the most numerous wading birds in the state. It’s highly sociable and is often found in large flocks, wading through the shallows and probing for food with its long curved bill.
American White Pelican: The White Pelican is one of the largest birds in North America with a 9-foot wingspan. Most populations are migratory, with breeders from the northern plains traveling southeast in the winter months. The White Pelican is a strong flyer and is most often found in lakes, marshes and salt bays.
Source: National Audubon Society