Tips from Pat Leary, noted naturalist who has published articles and illustrations relating to Amelia Island’s natural history:
1. Become familiar with resident common species. The more you know about these species, the easier it becomes to detect and identify the uncommon varieties and migrants.
2. Visit diverse habitats. A change in scenery provides opportunity to observe a greater variety of species.
3. Take advantage of inclement weather. Stormy-blustery weather, in any season, but especially during migratory periods, creates conditions conducive to sightings of rare or unusual species.
4. Observe bird behavior. Many species interact or form loose associations with other species. Behavior such as "chattering" or "mobbing" will reveal the presence of another species like a raptor.
5. Attract woodland birds. In fall and winter these shy and reclusive species can be lured from concealment by mimicking a "scolding" call (typical of a wren) or through the use of a portable tape player with recorded screech owl calls.
6. Also, while birding, be sure to keep your eyes open for butterflies. Amelia Island offers some of the most exquisite specimens to be found anywhere.
Amelia Island Plantation's Nature Center, open to the public and not just resort guests, offer one-and-one-half hour birding tours, appropriate for birders of all ages.