‘Breakfast and Birds’: Friends of Tigertail program teaches avian identification

A laughing gull.

On Saturday, 31 interested Marco Island residents and visitors attended the 18th "Breakfast and Birds" program sponsored by Friends of Tigertail.

Concentrating on "winter residents," avian species who migrate thousands of miles to enjoy several weeks in our warm climate, Fran Huxley and Susan Kubat, experienced birders and members of the Friends of Tigertail group, described birds that might be seen and reviewed identification tips.

The participants then transferred to the lagoon beach to observe the birds and can practice new skills to distinguish various species. Many of the program participants were new to birding and enjoyed seeing differences in appearance and behavior to tell the birds apart.

Susan Kubat describing winter resident birds.

An osprey was seen in the nest near the observation tower, then delighted the group by diving into the lagoon for fish. Ruddy turnstones, semipalmated plovers, and least sandpipers were seen at the water's edge while gulls rested nearby.

Across the lagoon ibis and herons demonstrated their differing eating habits while crows and turkey vultures flew overhead.

As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Tigertail hosts numerous avian species year round, and is an excellent site to learn about the great variety of birds in Southwest Florida.

Besides sponsoring quarterly beach clean-ups and student summer Conservancy camp scholarships, Friends of Tigertail also hosts different educational programs for area residents to learn about the treasures of the beach.

Participants looking across the lagoon at heron and ibis feeding behavior.

Their flagship activity, "Discover Tigertail" is held annually. Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, this family friendly, fun event involves experts at several stations describing various features of the beach such as fish, turtles, shells, butterflies, birds, and plants, while also offering beach pail decorating and scavenger hunts. More information can be found on the Friends of Tigertail Facebook page or website.