FWC wants to know: Have you seen these birds?

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for the public’s help in locating three species of rare birds during their breeding seasons.

Jeanne Dubi loves the outdoors and watching nature.  She has a small native outdoor garden where she raises monarch butterflies and has seen over 70 species of birds in her backyard over the years.  “I mean the world is less rich with fewer wildlife.”

Dubi is also the president of the Sarasota Audubon Society.  “We in Audubon are very interested in citizen science. We help in lots of ways.”

One way they help is by assisting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The FWC is asking the public and citizen scientists to help locate three species of rare birds during breeding season that last through July.

The southeastern American kestrel, the burrowing owl and the painted bunting are rare and declining species and the FWC has created a Rare Bird Registry where the public can quickly map locations where they observe these species.

“I think FWC is more interested in the breeding cycle of these birds, but never the less we will start try and start monitoring them in non breeding cycles as well.”

Burrowing owl

Dubi says painted buntings breed in the northern part of the state, but southeastern American kestrels and burrowing owls have been known to breed along the Suncoast.

She says the FWC Rare Bird Registry is important because it helps biologist estimate the size of populations which for burrowing owls is dwindling on the Suncoast.  “Because there preferred habitat is sandy soil, pine lands, flat woods basically and that has been heavily developed.”

American kestrel

Dubi says by helping the state gather valuable data we can be a part of preserving some of Florida’s most unique and interesting species.

People are encouraged to use the FWC's new Rare Bird Registry to quickly map locations where they observe these species, with the option to upload photos and additional comments.

Data submitted will be used by FWC scientists to identify important breeding areas for these species as well as estimate the size of their populations.