MAITLAND, Fla., Jan. 3, 2017 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka North Shore has become one of the premier locations to observe birds in the southeastern United States. From Jan. 20-22 it will set the stage for the fifth annual Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza.
“Water management districts are charged by the Florida Legislature with managing and restoring lands to their natural state and condition to the extent practical,” said district Land Resources Bureau Chief Steve Miller. “When we do that, those lands become prime habitat for many wildlife species. Birds respond dramatically to available habitat.”
Located in northwest Orange and southeast Lake counties, Lake Apopka is the headwaters of the Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes. Once a world-class bass fishery, impacts to the lake over many decades led it to being named Florida’s most polluted large lake. Since acquiring the land in the 1990s, the district’s work has remained centered on creating improvements in water quality and the restoration of wildlife habitat.
The area’s geography and habitat make it highly appealing to birds migrating through the Florida peninsula, creating some of Florida’s premier birding opportunities during the winter months. Bird surveys show more than 360 different species of birds have been identified within the area, more species than can be found at any inland site in Florida.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza is a celebration of the rich diversity of birds and other wildlife that make their home around Lake Apopka. Beginning at Orange County’s Magnolia Park and meandering through the district’s Lake Apopka North Shore, the family friendly festival includes photo walks, bird banding, live animal demonstrations, guided bus tours (limited seating), and guided walking and biking nature tours for children and adults on the Lake Apopka Loop Trail.
To learn more about the Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza, visit www.birdapalooza.com.
To learn more about the Lake Apopka North Shore visit http://www.sjrwmd.com/recreation