There are few things in life as relaxing as gliding through the peaceful waters of Siesta Key, renowned for its diversity of marine flora and fauna. Siesta Key kayaking is one of the best ways to get a close-up look at some of the unique birds that live in and around our beautiful waterways. As you explore the area by kayak or paddleboard, you’ll gain a unique perspective on the many species of birds that nest along our coasts and bird sanctuaries.
In this article, we discover some of the many birds you’ll see on your local paddling adventures.
American White Ibis: This medium-sized bird showcases white plumage with black wing tips, a bright red-orange curved bill and long legs. The ibis feeds primarily on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. However, its propensity to eat insects makes this bird an integral part of the local ecosystem.
Roseate Spoonbill: Spoonbills are large wading birds characterized by their long legs and unique spoon-shaped beaks. They primarily eat small aquatic organisms such as insects and fish, sweeping their large, spoon-like bill through shallow waters to search for and capture their food. The roseate spoonbill, identified by bright pink feathers and red eyes, is a tourist favorite.
Great Blue Heron: This impressive wading bird has a wingspan which can reach up to six feet wide, and its distinctive look is readily recognizable. Feathers on this heron are typically bluish-gray. They also have white heads, a yellow bill and long legs. It is not uncommon to see this majestic bird standing completely still in the shallows in search of fish, which it catches by using its sharp bill as a spear.
Wood Stork: The woodstork is a unique-looking wading bird that is hard to miss. The wood stork has a large body covered in snow-white feathers, but its neck and head are in sharp contrast, as they are dark grey and “leathery” looking. The wood stork is one of the largest birds in the area, with a 6 foot wingspan. Woodstorks find plenty of food in the bay and surrounding waters, with a diet that includes fish, crabs, frogs and small reptiles.
Snowy Egret: This beautiful bird is always a visitor favorite, and is easily identified by its gorgeous coloring: white feathers, yellow feet at the end of black legs, and yellow facial markings. This egret loves insects, fish or frogs, and it may be seen anywhere on the Key, from Bay waters to marshes – or walking along the shoreline of the Gulf.
Brown Pelican: If you notice a large brown pelican floating on the water near your kayak, keep your eye on it – you may get a spectacular show. The pelican is a large dive-feeding bird, meaning it will hover overhead and then dive headfirst into the water to catch a fish. Some of the more lazy pelicans on Siesta Key, however, can be seen following fishermen to grab some leftover catch of the day.
Anhinga: Another unique favorite is the anhinga, a water bird that swims with only its long, slender head above water – earning it the nickname “Snakebird.” The anhinga is a skilled hunter in the water, utilizing its sharp beak to catch fish underwater. While you may see the anhinga making its way through the water, they are easier spotted when drying their wings along the shore.
If you are looking for a way to truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this area, kayaking is your answer. Call Ride and Paddle today to learn more about kayak rentals, as well as lessons and tours from the Siesta Key kayaking experts. We will help you to make your Sarasota vacation you best one yet.