May 2021
Black-crowned Night-Heron. Photo: John C. Mittermeier, Macaulay Library
May in the Field
Global Big Day, a.k.a. World Migratory Bird Day, is coming up fast! Scheduled on the second Saturday in May, Global Big Day is a 24-hour challenge for birders the world over to submit their bird sightings to Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology.
Now in its seventh year, Global Big Day was conceived by the renowned Lab in 2015 to inspire more participants to add new bird sightings to its global bird database. (Cornell's comprehensive birding resources also include eBirdMerlin, the Macaulay Library and Birds of the World).
In its first year, 12,536 Global Big Day checklists cumulatively totaled 5,827 species, more than half of the world’s total number of bird species! In 2020, more than 52,000 participants from 175 countries submitted more than 125,000 checklists totaling 6,538 species.
Join the international birding community on Saturday, May 8 to help push the Global Big Day species tally over 7,000 and/or the single-day checklists over 150,000. 

It’s easy to participate! 
You can stick close to home, or venture further afield. Songbirds are usually most active in the morning, but water birds are often conspicuous at any time of day. Although Spring Migration is winding down, it's still surprising how many species you can spot by being observant. If you bird beyond your backyard, please continue to maintain social distancing protocols. Click here for updated Miami-Dade County Parks visitation guidelines. 
Multiple checklists may be submitted during the day via the eBird website or the eBird Mobile app. Birding time must be at least 10 minutes for each checklist submitted.  
To add to the fun, we invite South Florida birders to post/share bird photos taken on Global Big Day to our Tropical Audubon Facebook Bird Board and discover what other birders post there as well! Make sure to include the hashtag #GlobalBigDay with your post.  

Scheduling Update: We hope to resume our regularly-scheduled birding field trips in late Summer. Our Doc Thomas House headquarters remains closed to the public. Please stay tuned for our timely updates.
Brian Rapoza
Tropical Audubon Society Field Trip Coordinator
Chirping About
Cape Florida Banding Station Update: Spring Migration takes Flight
Northern Cardinal banded at CFBS.
Photo: Mark Kramer
Summer Tanager banded at CFBS.
Photo: Miriam Avello
Male Black-throated Blue Warbler banded at CFBS.
Photo: Miriam Avello
Female Black-throated Blue Warbler banded at CFBS.
Photo: Miriam Avello

More than 600 birds have been banded since the Cape Florida Banding Station (CFBS) inaugurated a regular Spring Migration banding schedule in March.

Several weather fronts worked their way down the Florida peninsula in April, causing brief wind shifts to the west and bringing in lots of birds. The overall volume of migration has been steadily increasing since early Spring, with large pulses of birds coming up overnight from western Cuba or from the southeast via the Bahamas.

Some of the most frequently banded species thus far this season include Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat. In recent weeks, a few new species were added to the station's Spring Migration list, including: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler and Summer Tanager.

Earlier in the season, the station's trained volunteers encountered two Northern Cardinals that were previously banded in Fall 2019 and Fall 2020; the species is one of the few who remain year-round at Cape Florida Bill Baggs State Park and breed there. A photo of one of them (above) was a big hit on our Instagram page, with more than 500 "Likes!" The popular image was taken by expert bander Marc Kramer, who also recently joined the Tropical Audubon Board of Directors.

Operating under the TAS Programs umbrella, CFBS is located in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, a developed barrier island lying just off Miami’s coast. Every Spring and Fall, millions of songbirds stop at Bill Baggs to refuel as they fly north or south along the Atlantic Flyway, heading for North American summering habitats or southern wintering destinations in the Caribbean and South America. CFBS volunteer community scientists have been banding these neotropical migrants during their Fall Migration since 2002, from mid-August through the first week of November.

Michelle Davis, who co-founded and operates the station, posts weekly reports on migration activity.
View Tropical Audubon Society Members Migration Annual Meeting
Tropical Audubon Society members and friends gathered virtually for our 2021 Members Migration meeting on April 25 to celebrate another year of Conservation Milestones and recognize our Conservation Heroes. If you would like to view it again or missed it altogether, click HERE to replay!
In the News
Miami-Dade County passes strong Fertilizer Ordinance!
Open Bay_TSmith
Biscayne Bay and its feeder waterways will gain strong protection from the recently passed MDC fertilizer ordinance.
Photo: Tom E. Smith
Thank you to our members and friends who urged their Miami-Dade County Commissioners to pass a strong fertilizer ordinance last month. Your actions to protect Biscayne Bay and other waterways made a difference! On April 20, the commission voted to adopt what is considered to be the "gold standard" of fertilizer bans.

Excessive fertilizer use on Miami-Dade County (MDC) urban landscapes adversely impacts water quality in Biscayne Bay and feeder waterways, by impairing these bodies of water with increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. High levels of these nutrients can harm plants and wildlife otherwise adapted to lower nutrient levels, and cause harmful algal blooms (HABs) and fish kills.
The new law, which was sponsored by MDC Commissioner Eileen Higgins, is considered to be the strongest municipal fertilizer legislation in Florida, and is an important recommendation of the Biscayne Bay Task Force.
Having a strict county-wide fertilizer law in place is an important step toward conserving and restoring our local ecosystems.

TAS urges Miami-Dade County to:
Safeguard Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay & Everglades
Reject non-military aviation at Homestead Air Base
Miami-Dade County’s efforts to secure the use of federal lands at HARB for non-military aviation pose a significant threat to Everglades Restoration. Cattle Egrets in the Everglades. Photo: Federico Acevedo
It has been two decades since Tropical Audubon Society played a key role in successfully opposing an effort to convert Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) into a private commercial airport. Today a similar proposal to bring non-military aviation to the base is under consideration by Miami-Dade County, and again we stand firm in honoring our advocacy legacy by opposing the idea for the same compelling reason: HARB is sited right between environmentally sensitive Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
In 2001, after extensive studies, the US Air Force determined that private commercial use of HARB would pose unacceptable adverse consequences. Those adverse consequences are a greater threat today than 20 years ago when the Air Force Record of Decision (ROD) rejected a commercial airport at HARB.

Recently, a coalition of environmental groups that includes TAS asked the U.S. Air Force to reject Miami-Dade County’s overtures to enter into a Joint Use Agreement allowing the county to conduct aviation operations at HARB. Furthermore, we recently asked Miami-Dade County to reject non-military use of HARB and safeguard both of our national parks, and the broader Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and Everglades ecosystems for the benefit of our economy, our residents and future generations, and our wildlife. 

The risk of irreparable damage to these precious natural resources presented by opening the door to “limited general aviation” at HARB — a precedent that could then lead to commercial aviation and cargo operations — is simply not worth the added risks to the area’s fragile ecosystems and the negative impacts on our economy. 
Plants for Birds
Bird-friendly Gardening Day
Saturday, May 15, 9am-Noon
RSVP Required
The Coralbean bush, found in our Bird-Friendly Demonstration Garden, is a Florida native and an excellent source of nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. It shines as an accent plant. Photo: Federico Acevedo
Do you have a green thumb, or wish to learn more about native plants for birds? You are invited take part in maintaining our Bird-Friendly Demonstration Garden at our Steinberg Nature Center campus! Get hands-on experience creating wildlife habitat. The knowledge and skills you gain will enable you to establish a bird-friendly garden in your own yard or patio — interested participants MUST RSVP to Amy at

Please note that only a limited number of volunteers can be accommodated, and that volunteers will be required to wear a mask and adhere to our gathering guidelines.

Green Things to Do
“As I See it ... ”
A Juried Photography Competition
Sponsored by the Coral Gables Gardening Club
Open for Submissions thru May 31
Great Blue Herons. Photo: Fabiola Forns
The Coral Gables Garden Club is sponsoring a juried photography competition for shutterbugs 18 years of age or older. All cameras are welcome, including Smartphones.

Suggested subjects include Florida’s natural environment and wildlife, plants and insects, and historic sites, especially within Coral Gables. From Sunshine State coastlines and natural vistas, to lush foliage and flowers, the competition is intended to display the talent of the photographer and inspire visitors to visit and explore Florida and the City Beautiful.

The Grand Prize is $1,000 plus $2,800 in category prizes. Submit your images by May 31. Click HERE for details
Go Solar!
Join a Solar Co-op Information Session Near You
Thursday, May 13, 12pm
We’re teaming up with nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) to bring you the Miami-Dade County Solar Co-op — a free group to help you go solar. The co-op makes it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Attend an information session on Thursday, May 13, 12pm, to learn more about how the Miami-Dade Solar Co-op is streamlining the going solar process, and is earning a discount through bulk purchase power. Join the Miami-Dade County Solar Co-op for free.
Nurture & Shelter Birds, Bees & Butterflies! 
Saturday, June 12, 9am-5pm
A Gray Catbird perches in native American Beautyberry bush. Photo: Will Stuart
Just in time for rainy season, we're delighted to announce the return of our Native Plant Sale! Help us celebrate our first LIVE event in 15 months, and resolve to spruce up your native plantings — summer's the ideal time to dig in! 

Purchase Native Plants that will transform your yard, patio or balcony into a thriving, low-maintenance habitat to help attract and support wildlife. Visit our Bird-friendly Demonstration Garden and get cultivation tips from our resident Master Gardeners. Explore our Pine Rockland and Hardwood Hammock Demonstration Forests for added inspiration.

Masks are required, and shoppers are also asked to observe established social distancing protocols.

CASH or CHECKS are preferred!

Limited onsite parking via our 55th Avenue Auto Gate.
Bird the Ruins of Mexico's Yucatán
January 20-30, 2022
The Mexican Sheartail is one of the many colorful species you may spot on this trip. Photo: Alexander Dzib
Pack your binoculars and embark on an intense, 11-day, 10-night birding adventure to the environmentally diverse Yucatán Peninsula. Led by TAS Field Trip Coordinator Brian Rapoza, and a local guide, you’ll witness native birds soar above the breathtaking Hochob, Becán, Chacchoben and Uxmal ruins, as well as other archaeological sites of interest on this extraordinary journey through the Mayan world. Note: The new date is January 20-30, 2022. To view a detailed itinerary, click here. Email Brian Rapoza, TAS Field Trip Coordinator for additional information.
The Birds Thank
Community Newspapers
... The Birds thank the publishers of Miami's Community Newspapers for their perennial support of our community events and conservation Mission. The Miller family's generosity of spirit and deep concern for the environment ensure Tropical Audubon’s messaging is regularly broadcast across their stable of Community Newspapers — both in print and electronically.

From Aventura to Cutler Bay, Miami’s Community Newspapers endeavor to keep environmental issues front and center. “Once our readers understand how interconnected all of our ecosystems are, they are more willing to engage or contribute,” says Publisher Grant Miller. “That’s our community role — connect and then contribute. For that reason, we are happy to support Tropical Audubon Society with editorial and donated advertising space.” 

Pick up a free copy of your neighborhood’s Community Newspaper at your bank, coffee shop or post office. Or advertise your goods or services on its pages. More than any other local medium, Miami’s Community Newspapers help TAS cultivate conservation through community!

You can also read your neighborhood news electronically at

Supporting those vendors who support TAS is an easy way to contribute to our Mission. The birds will thank you!