Small Birds of Anna Maria Island

This spring we have noticed surprisingly large numbers of small birds in our yard and the nearby neighborhoods of Anna Maria Island. We become so used to the larger great blue herons, pelicans, ospreys, egrets, ibises and wood storks that the small birds have become of particular interest.

Parrokeets of Anna Maria
Parrokeets have made themselves at home on Anna Maria Island

Several kinds of smaller birds are permanent residents of the island, or visit here often. The loud, gregarious parakeets that fly overhead seem to fluctuate in numbers. We suspect that may have to do with nesting trees being cut, in particular, along the main road in Anna Maria. For whatever the reason, it was not unusual several years ago to see large flocks of these green parakeets overhead, or on a tree or building. Now they appear much less often.

The doves can be heard cooing, and often perch on powerlines along the street. They also perch on deck railings and seem to like our Bahama shutter supports.

Mockingbirds are the state bird of Florida. If you are going to have only a limited number of songbirds in your neighborhood, it’s wonderful if one of them is a mockingbird. This cheerful-sounding bird rattles off a wide variety of songs, giving the impression that there are many kinds of birds in the area.


Bird Watching on Island Shores

It doesn’t get any easier than this. There is no need to travel or even go outside to do some bird watching on Anna Maria Island. In fact, at my house, sometimes the herons watch me at least as much as I watch them. As you can see from the photo, binoculars are not necessary to get a great close-up look at a great blue heron.

Great Blue Heron close-up

Anna Maria Island is a bird sanctuary. In recent years, important nesting of several species, including lesser terns, has taken place on the island shores near Bean Point. The area has been roped off so people won’t accidentally step on the birds, which are hard to see when they are nesting in the sand.