Birds

Christmas Bird Count

The annual Stuart Christmas Bird Count, organized by Audubon of Martin County is held annually in late December/early January. See Our Calendar of Events for date and information. For more than 100 years, in the United states and other countries, birders at all levels, from inexperienced to advanced, have joined together to count the number of birds of each species in a specified area.

Great Backyard Bird Count

A joint project of National Audubon and Cornell, the Great backyard Bird Count takes place each year in February. It is an enjoyable and educational way for the thousands of people who participate to give scientists a snapshot of North American bird populations. Participants are asked to spend at least 15 minutes to count and record birds that they see in their backyards, a local park, or other natural area, and submit the results online. Results from thousands of participants help ornithologists to determine how bird populations are coping with winter weather, where certain species are spending the winter, and whether species of concern are increasing or decreasing in numbers. See our Calendar of events for dates and details.

Eagle Watch

To assist the statewide Eagle Watch program, Audubon of Martin County organizes volunteers who monitor more than a dozen nests on private and public land. Annual orientation meetings, held at the beginning of nesting season, introduce new volunteers and bring together Eagle Watch veterans. Nesting season in Florida is from approximately November through April. Learn More

Bluebird Watch

People are often very surprised when I mention that we have Bluebirds here in South Florida. But yes, the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is here in western Martin County. This attractive little bird, with its bright blue back and rusty-colored breast has made a home around the sprawling open land in this area.

Unfortunately, only a few people have ever seen a Bluebird in Florida. It is estimated that in the past 60 years, the population has been reduced by 90-percent. The decline is due to lack of natural nesting areas, increased pesticide use and competition with the House Sparrow and European Starling.

To help in the Bluebird's recovery, Audubon of Martin County became a charter member of the Florida Bluebird Society. Through the courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District, we have installed Bluebird nest boxes in the Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management area.

Eastern Bluebirds are primarily insectivores. Insects make up about 68-percent of their diet, with the remainder comprised of fruits, such as holly and blueberries. Their natural habitat is open pinelands, woodland edges, and prairies. They have, however, also adapted to some rural suburban land, such as pastures, fields that are mowed, golf courses and highway rights-of-way. They can frequently be seen perched on telephone wires or fences near their habitat.

What can you do? First, limit your pesticide use. Insecticides reduce the Bluebirds' food supply. Second, build and install Bluebird nest boxes in suitable habitats to compensate for the loss of natural nesting holes. Audubon of Martin County has several plans available, from very simple to deluxe. We can also advise you on the best places to install them. Call our office for more information.

Scrubjay Watch

The Florida Scrub Jay, our Chapter mascot, deserves our support for so many reasons: it has been the subject of intense scientific study because of its unusual cooperative behavior; it is Florida's only endemic bird; it together with the Gopher Tortoise are the iconic indicator species of healthy scrub habitat; it is an interesting and attractive bird; but most famously it is known for the ease with which it becomes accustomed to hand feeding. In response to the declining fortunes of the Florida Scrub Jays, our Chapter set up a program to survey the remaining Florida Scrub Jays on private land in Martin County. Surveys conducted between 2009 and 2011, in which most of the sites which supported Scrub-Jay families in 1994 were revisited, indicated that fewer than 10-percent of the territories still had resident Florida Scrub Jays. A number of potentially suitable sites were also surveyed and Florida Scrub Jays were similarly found to be absent.

Injured Birds and Other Wildlife

Found an orphaned or injured bird or other animal? Thanks for caring enough to find out what to do!
 
Baby Birds
 
If you find what you think is an orphaned baby bird (baby fuzz or feathered with short tail and can't fly) DON'T PICK IT UP unless it is in immediate danger or looks very young (no feathers). Some fledgling birds spend time on the ground, unable to fly, yet still being cared for by their parent(s), and it would be a shame to take them away from their parents. Station someone a short distance from the bird to watch it and keep children and other animals away while you check the information at Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital or call one of the numbers below.
 
Injured Birds
 
If you find an injured bird and can safely pick it up without injury to yourself, place it in a closed cardboard box and put the box in a warm, quiet place. Then call one of the numbers below for advice.  If you find an injured bird, please contact Treasure Coast Wildlife Center
 
Animal Pets
For domestic animals that need rescue contact Humane Society of the Treasure Coast in Palm City: 772.223.8822
 
Phone Numbers of Wildlife Rescue Organizations:

• For St. Lucie County, call the Wildlife Center of St. Lucie County at 772.929.9453 or Injured and Orphaned Wildlife at 772.378.1329

• For Injured Birds, call Busch Wildlife Sanctuary at 561.575.3399, Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital at 772.286.6200 or Wildlife Alert at 1.888.404.3922
 
• Displacement of Sand Hill Crane nesting, call FWC at 561.625.5122

• For wildlife law enforcement call Capt. Jeff Harlan FWC at 561.744.9814

Have You Seen A Banded Bird?

Migratory birds have been banded in the United States for more than 100 years. Each banded bird has at least a single aluminum band. These shiny metal bands are supplied by the Bird Banding Laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey, in Maryland. Some birds may have one or more additional, colored bands, sometimes on both legs. The photo shows a Sanderling with a Federal band and blue and red colored bands. All banded migratory birds must have the USGS aluminum band. Additional bands are placed by other organizations. USGS maintains a Federal-band reporting site www.reportband.gov, or you may call them toll-free at 1.800.327.BAND (2263). The operator will need to know the band number, how, when and where the bird or band was found.