Rare Bird Sighting of a ''Key West Quail-Dove'' at the Deering Estate at Cutler
(MIAMI, January 8, 2015) - The Deering Estate at Cutler and birders from all over the United States are celebrating the New Year after spotting a rare bird, the Key West Quail-Dove, at the Deering Estate at Cutler. Deering Estate Naturalists Rangel Diaz and Elias Horna first spotted the Key West Quail-Dove on December 28, 2014, in the natural areas, and it’s been seen consistently since.
“The sighting of this rare bird highlights that our community is one of the best places for bird-watching,” said Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The exceptional work done by the naturalists and conservationists at the Deering Estate should be commended for helping to transform the estate into a welcoming environment for birds.”
The Key West Quail-Dove was discovered by John James Audubon in the early 1800's in Key West (hence the name) but they were extirpated by the 1900's. Since then, birds seen in North America have been assumed to be vagrants flying from neighboring Caribbean islands. They are found throughout the Greater Antilles with the exception of Jamaica. Quail-Doves by nature are extremely shy and secretive birds making them difficult to watch by large groups.
Deering Estate Naturalist Rangel Diaz said, “The last Key West Quail-Dove seen in Miami-Dade County was in 1999, at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. The habitat at the Deering Estate is perfect to support this bird for a long time. There are sufficient fruiting trees and plants as well as enough understory growth to make it feel comfortable -- even with groups as large as 50 coming to see it. At this point we think the bird is a young male, but as time passes we will be able to confirm.” Rangel successfully completed his epic “Big Year” in 2013, by finding 300 species of birds in Miami-Dade County.
South Florida offers one of the most diverse birding locations east of the Mississippi and consequently makes Florida a national and international bird watching hotspot. With a list of 409 countable species, Miami-Dade County is one of the best locations in all of Florida. The Deering Estate at Cutler is part of the Biscayne Bay IBA – Important Bird Area - recognized as being a globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations.
If you are interested in seeing the Key West Quail-Dove, the Deering Estate offers Bird Walks on the second Saturday of the Month. The next Bird Walk is on Saturday, January 10, 2015, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The cost is $12 for adults and $7 for children (ages 4-14). Natural Areas tours are also offered daily at 12:30 p.m. and are free with regular Estate admission.
About the Deering Estate at Cutler
The Deering Estate at Cutler, a Miami-Dade County Park, is located at 16701 SW 72 Avenue in Miami. This 444-acre natural and archeological preserve and historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a center for education, culture and recreation. Historic house tours are offered daily at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Natural areas tours are offered daily at 12:30 p.m. (October – May). DeeringAdventure Tours are also offered throughout the year for an additional fee. For more information on the Deering Estate's educational and cultural programs, please visit www.deeringestate.org.