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Ocala National Forest

Silver Springs, FL

Visitor Center/Nature CenterSpotting Scope RecommendedRestroomsPicnickingHandicap Accesible
CampingHuntingFishingHorseback Riding

When to Visit:
January - Most ProductiveFebruary - Most ProductiveMarch - Most ProductiveApril - Most ProductiveMay - Most ProductiveJune - Most ProductiveJuly - Less ProductiveAugust - Less ProductiveSeptember - Most ProductiveOctober - Most ProductiveNovember - Most ProductiveDecember - Most Productive

With over 380,000 acres containing a mix of sand pine and oak scrub habitat this national forest creates a very large paradise for both birds and birders alike.

Specialty Species:

Herons and Egrets:  Look for these birds at any of the lakes on the property especially Lake George and Kerr.

Waterfowl:  Look for waterfowl on Lake George.  Both diving and dabbling ducks occur on this lake. 

Swallow-tailed Kite:  Look for this beautiful raptor throughout the property, especially close to any of the lakes.

Limpkin:  Look for this species at Alexander Springs and in any other swampy areas throughout the property.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker:  One of the largest populations in the world of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers reside in the forest.  Watch along FR314 for their nesting colonies which are marked with paint on the base of the trees.  Look in any pine habitat throughout the forest. 

Florida Scrub-Jay:  Watch for this species in oak scrub habitat in the southern parts of the forest.  Look along the roads from FR-88 and FR-65.

Pine Warbler:  Look and listen for this species throughout pines on the property.  This species occurs year round and nests in the forest.

Bachman’s Sparrow:  Look for Bachman’s Sparrows in any of the pine stands throughout the property that has grassy/scrub habitat on the ground.  Watch for this species along FR-86 and FR-314.

Where to Bird:

FR-86 and FR-314:  Look for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers nesting in trees at the intersection of these two roads.  From the intersection drive both roads listening and watching for Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Pine Warbler, and Bachman’s Sparrow.

Lake Kerr:  Watch for Swallow-tailed Kites around Lake Kerr during the spring and summer.  Wading birds can also be found around the lake.

FR-88 and FR-65:  Drive these roads through oak scrub for a chance to see Florida Scrub-Jay.  Drive slowly and listen for this jay along the roads.  These birds are usually easily found if you are in the right habitat. 

Lake George:  Bird Lake George from the end of FR-9884.  Many waterfowl can be seen from fall-spring.  Also, watch for swallows and wading birds that reside and feed around the lake.

Alexander Springs Campground Area:  Bird this area from nature trail that starts from the campground.  Watch and listen for Limpkin and Prothonotary Warbler from this trail.






Many gravel roads and trails crisscross the forest so you can bird from your vehicle.


Many trails located around the property.

Non-birding Equipment Needed:

Lenght of Visit:

Half or full day visit is recommended




From the East:  From the intersection of I-95 and SR-40, take SR-40 West.  The National Forest begins after about 20 miles.

From the West:  From the intersection of I-75 and Silver Springs Boulevard/SR-40, take Silver Springs Boulevard/SR-40 east.  The National Forest begins after about 12 miles.


Ocklawaha Visitor Center
3199 NE CR 315
Silver Springs, Florida 34488

Salt Springs Visitor Center
14100 N. Highway 40
Salt Springs, Florida 32134

Pittman Visitor Center
45621 State Road 19
Altoona, Florida 32702

Nearby Birding: