Birding on Pine Island

A vast diversity of little known birding hot spots exists on Pine Island and the surrounding wetlands & estuaries. From shorebirds to woodland species to birds of prey to everything in between, we are an undiscovered birder’s paradise!

Explore an Undiscovered Birding Paradise

Shorebirds include black-crowned & yellow-crowned night herons, little & great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, glossy ibis, snowy egrets, great egrets, and reddish egrets, just to name a few.

Woodland species include pileated, downy, red-bellied or red-cockaded woodpeckers & warblers to your heart’s content!

Dazzling birds of prey include bald eagles year round, ospreys, snail kites and an assortment of owls, hawks and falcons including American kestrels & merlins.

Depending on the time of year, we’re even lucky enough to have White Pelicans grace our shores in our own backyard!

In under one hour of casual birding on New Years Day, 2013, starting in Matlacha, driving on SR 78 through Little Pine Island & onto Pine Island down to the neighborhood of The Tarpon Lodge, one of our office staff identified 27 different bird species! What a way to start the year!

Within the month of December 2010, unrelated guests from Utah and California said they knocked off 10 species from their birding life lists of must sees! That’s a true testament! Examples seen included white ibis, tri-colored heron, black-throated grey warbler & wood storks, all found within walking distance of the Tarpon Lodge!

Whether you’re a beginner with general interests in bird watching or an avid hobbyist, who concentrates on birds of special concern in Florida, our SW region’s abundance is sure to satisfy!

Nearby preserves owned by the Calusa Land Trust or Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 Program or across the street at the Calusa Heritage Trail [Univ. of FL’s Museum of Natural History] can make it easy for you to discover what few have!

Beyond Pine Island, by car, within 30 minutes, you can seek out Burrowing Owls, Florida Sandhill Cranes and various, rare feathered friends.

See burrowing owl nest locations.

Within an easy hour’s drive, you can see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area [1-850-488-4676] along with a tremendous variety of exciting viewing targets.

If you’ve already explored Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge or Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach, then it’s time to go beyond the obvious. If you haven’t visited those fine locations, then each is within a sixty to ninety minute car ride from your Tarpon Lodge accommodations

At, you’ll find lists of several birding territories, including those on Pine Island and beyond.

Other useful links for general birding info include & For specifics on protected birds [“endangered”, “threatened” or “species of special concern”], often seen locally, visit

During certain times of the year, you’ll find the miracles of migration outside our windows like Painted Buntings, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Ovenbirds, Northern Parulas, Black-Throated Blue Warblers, American Redstarts, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, and a host of others befitting its own birding guidebook, with exceptions and surprises that’ll keep your interests alive!

In addition to having birding accessible by land or foot, let’s not forget the incredible waterways surrounding Tarpon Lodge! Whether it’s Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, Boca Grande Pass, Caloosahatchee River, Gulf of Mexico or an infinite number of water passages, large and small, opportunities are limitless via boat, kayak or canoe. Birding in Southwest Florida on the water is a treat for nature lovers, sure to satisfy items on the most astute birder’s bucket list or add dimension to visitors focused on exploring the Great Calusa Blueway or simply trying their luck at kayak fishing.

Take a moment to visit our Photo Gallery of Birds! Photos are used with permission and were taken by and belong to Nancy Glickman.

Nature & Wildlife Articles

Saving “Ruddy”

Rob Wells
Birding, Cabbage Key, Nature & Wildlife, Pineland FL

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