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Birding enthusiasts flock to Jackson County to explore the number of Great Florida Birding and Wildlife trails located within its boundaries. As dusk settles in along the western shore of Lake Seminole, so do the blackbirds. Along River Road, the reedy shores teem with the fuss and squawk of thousands of birds-red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, and rusty blackbirds as the sun slips beyond distant farms. As birds roost, the hawks move in-northern harriers, merlins, red-shouldered hawks and more-to pick of easy prey.

Up to 500 canvasbacks, the largest percentage of the state’s known sightings winter here on Lake Seminole. American coots are also common wintering species. During the summer months, look for king rails in the marshy areas, and the northernmost populations of purple gallinule and least bittern in Florida. The yellow-breasted chat and yellow-throated vireo breed here.

Birders come from all over Florida to see the horned lark, first discovered in small numbers in 2004-2005, every year they can be found primarily in two places plowed fields in Greenwood and in the north part of the county between Malone and the Chattahoochee River. They seem to prefer large, open recently plowed cotton fields.

The old growth forage at Florida Caverns attracts winter wrens and brown creepers; they are hard to find elsewhere in the state, you are guaranteed to see them here. Downstream along the Chipola at Hinson Preserve, you’ll also find prothonotary warbler; over 20 species of warblers have been spotted in Jackson County.

Jackson County Birding Trails

*Sites on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail