People flock to the Dry Tortugas island chain for the absolute best snorkeling in Florida. But what many are not aware of is that the bird-watching you can do out in the Dry Tortugas is equally amazing. No tours have yet to advertise the fascinating bird watching that can be done out here, but bird and nature enthusiasts from all over the world know the unique bird-watching environment that is found in the Dry Tortugas.
If you are planning a trip out to the Dry Tortugas out from Key West on either the Yankee Freedom or the Sunny Days ferries, you should definitely try to acquaint yourself with the types of birds on the islands and their unique behavior. Not only are these birds great to look at as they all look strikingly different, but their behavior in itself is something to marvel at. Between the months of February and September, for instance, you will see thousands of sooty terns who migrate to Bush Key to nest. Bush Key is entirely closed to visitors during these months to protect the fragile birds. Each sooty tern couple only has one offspring during this time period. While they are nesting over on Bush Key and Bush Key is off-limits to visitors, you will be able to see the sooty terns by using binoculars.
Some of the most common birds you will find on the Dry Tortugas include the hummingbird, the peregrine falcon, the yellow-billed cuckoo and the vireo. If you look up above, you are likely to see the large frigate with its seven-foot wingspan. There have been over 300 different bird species that have been seen in the Dry Tortugas and it is pretty common to be able to see up to 70 in one specific trip. The absolute best time to come the best bird watching is during the spring time, though year-round you are sure to see an impressive variety and number of birds.
Bird Watching Checklist
Dry Tortugas Bird Species