Birds. Florida has a lot of wildlife, more unique wildlife than I’ve experienced anywhere else I’ve ever lived. (Okay, perhaps with the exception of Hawaii). There are lizards, toads, frogs, manatees, coyotes, bobcats, gators (even crossing the road, like, whatevs, I’m a gator, you can wait).
But probably the most variety of interesting wildlife: the birds.
As we’ve lived here, we’ve experienced a pair of peahens frequenting our neighborhood, taking our peanuts and squawking on our rooftops. The peahens are much more ubiquitous on Merritt Island, so the suspicion was ours came over one of the bridges to wander Satellite Beach in search of peacocks (rather like the Ents looking for the Entwives, in reverse). But alas our peahens disappeared one day. There are also neighborhood coyotes, so I fear nature won out.
We’ve had neighborhood hawks that terrorize our neighbors with literal bloody attacks, to protect their young. Neighbors have cut down trees to discourage them, signs have been put up to warn of them, and the official wildlife people have relocated the babies, but still they persist. It’s kind of cool, and kind of scary, but whatever else it is, it’s unique.
We have wandering flocks of ibis, traveling from yard to yard, like a flock of temporary white lawn flamingoes, hanging out, eating your bugs, then moving on to greener (buggier) pastures.
Sandhill Cranes will block your path. Sandhill Cranes are kind of tragic – they mate for life, so when one dies, it’s devastating to the remaining crane. I volunteer with an amazing group, Wild Florida Rescue, who are on-call to rescue wildlife in distress. (They’ve rescued an opossum from our atrium and a hawk with a broken wing from our yard). Heather, who founded WFR, has told me of the sad event where they transport an injured crane, and the crane’s mate will run after their van crying. Please be careful of the cranes!
Another thing to be careful of is fishing line. If you look at the large photo of the pelican in this post, it has a fishing line caught on its face (the hook was actually in its eye). Please don’t cut fishing lines, but retrieve them, and if you come across old fishing line, please gather it up and recycle it. WFR spends a lot of time tracking down wildlife entangled with old fishing line. Let’s all do our part to keep our amazing wildlife safe and healthy.
We have mockingbirds. (Everyone has mockingbirds). But ours attack hawks.
Ospreys, pelicans, eagles. So many birds. Here are some of my favorite photos of birds from our time here.