Serious bird watchers can do some serious bird watching in and around Gainesville. This is Florida after all, about as far south as migratory birds can go. And with many natural habitats protected within our wonderful park system, a phenomenal range of bird species fly free in large numbers. All you need is two feet and a pair of binoculars. The rest should come pretty easy.
A good place to start any bird watching expedition is Paynes Prairie State Park. Located just 20 minutes from historic downtown Gainesville, this 21,000-acre wilderness preserve is home to 100 species of birds during the summer and up to 271 species during the winter, including the beautiful Sandhill Cranes. Another must visit location is San Felasco Hammock Preserve, a 7000 acre park designated for hiking that makes a quiet solitude for many species of songbirds, summer breeding birds like wood thrush and various species of warblers. It's no wonder San Felasco is a Great Florida Birding Trail site, but you really can't go wrong at any number of smaller Gainesville area parks. For instance, the Loblolly Woods Nature Park is considered one of the best birding locations in the county. Walk the trails and boardwalks under the shady protection of a variety of hardwood trees. Who knows what you'll find? Happy birding.