Many residents in the Tampa Bay area fail to notice the impact their lives have on wildlife that shares the outdoor space around their home. Florida is not only a tropical, temperate haven for people during the long months of winter, it also harbors many insect and animal species during these winter months seeking the same climate. Although we have our share of permanent year-round species in the Bay area, we also receive some very impressive and beautiful guests during the year. Unlike our northern neighbors that only host migratory species during the warm summer months, we in the south have our traditional species and serve as an over-wintering ground for species of both the northern and southern hemisphere .�� In only a few weeks, the usual sight of mockingbirds and blue jays turns into a dozen vibrantly colored warbler species lounging in your small trees and shrubs. Few things are more entertaining than watching the incoming robins with their brilliant orange-red breasts held high, hopping in the grass in search of fresh worms and insects.
Although there are many things you can do year-round to help attract and enjoy native residents, there also are things you can do to ensure these birds have a safe habitat around your home and neighborhood.�� With so many species calling our area home, a few changes in your behavior can mean the difference between watching the amazingly swift and agile least tern catch small minnows from a graceful dive, to detracting not only these birds, but many more birds from their preferred habitat. Year-round residents are also graceful and beautiful—just watch a tightly knit formation of brown pelicans skim the top of the water in flight, watch cormorants perform their underwater acrobatics, see the awe inspiring pink silhouette of the spoonbill delicately land on a mangrove branch at dusk���this is enough to inspire just about anyone.
In addition to the many bird species in Florida, another unique thing about the Tampa Bay area is the amazing variation in habitat. From central Pinellas county has its green lawns and live oaks to our diverse aquatic landscapes—beaches, brackish estuaries, fresh water lakes, even the retention ditches in many communities help secure some very special and sensitive species.
Help us make the Bay area a safe and beautiful place for all species, including the human species. Every bit helps, lots of small changes can have a cumulative huge impact.