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Monday, February 15, 2010

Short-tailed Hawk & Youth Birding, Ding Darling NWR

Short-tailed Hawk

One of the great things about birding Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel, FL is seeing cool birds and meeting cool birders. Today we did both.

Martha Kriek, on the right, a 3rd grade teacher who encouraged lots of the kids learn about birds, said these children are the ones who will take care of these birds in the future. What an important concept! It is so critical that we teach kids to understand, love and respect birds now, since they are the conservationists of tomorrow. We applaud adults who are involved with this.

Don with another birder we met today, Gayle Sheets of the Caloosa Bird Club, who is involved with Lee County Bird Patrol ( That is an organization in which volunteer birders routinely census birds on Lee County parks and "Conservation 20/20" properties and turn their findings in to the managers of those properties. These volunteers are "dedicated to protect, monitor, observe and educate the public regarding the contribution that birds make to the delicate balance of the ecosystems" in those properties. What a great idea and model for other bird clubs!

Don with Gayle and Harold looking out over the tower pond at Ding Darling, then Don spotted the Short-tailed Hawk. I was thrilled it came right over our heads and I had my cameras ready. The Short-tailed Hawk is a rare finding on Sanibel. This hawk is found in FL and from central Mexico to Panama. It occurs in two color morphs. This bird I photographed is the light morph, and is white below. The dark morph is blackish-brown above and below with barred tail and flight feathers.


Catherine said...

What beautiful photographs! Looks like the perfect day on Sanibel, as well!

Ross said...

Thank you for this site! We will be at Sanibel in one month...I have Canon 70-200mm. Do I need more than this for capturing good photos? Dick Ross

Lillian Stokes said...

The minimum length lens we recommend for getting bird photos is 300mm. However, on Sanibel, birds may sometimes be close enough so your lens will do nicely. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is your best bet for photography, the birds are close there.

LNMP298 said...

I second your comment about getting kids involved in birding! Here in New York, we have the NYS Young Birders Club ( These kids are terrific birders.

Ross said...

Thank you, we appreciate your response! Perhaps we well see you?