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Florida Scientist


Despite claims about high avian biodiversity in the Indian River Lagoon system, previous efforts to inventory the birds have been limited in geographic extent or in habitat. Compilation of a list of birds could rely on many resources, but ones of widespread availability, greatest historical record, and highest density of sites are two citizen-science projects: the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and eBird. Lists of species were harvested from 17 CBC sites (‘‘circles’’) back to 1910 and from 432 eBird sites (‘‘hotspots’’) since 2002 within the boundaries of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP). In addition to lagoon waters, the boundaries include barrier islands, wetlands, and uplands of the historical drainage. A total of 437 species of bird in 71 families were recorded at the CBC and eBird sites, but 6 species were eliminated because of low counts, lack of independent listing for the region or state in reliable sources, or likelihood of misidentifications. Addition of 12 species from Alan G. Cruickshank’s records for Brevard County brought the total avifauna of the IRLNEP territory to 443 species, with retention of all 71 families. The inventory includes accidental and two extinct species and both established and unestablished exotic species.

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