Y174. Prairie Bird Loop (short)
SiteID: E174 (E126 old)
Nearest City: Okeechobee
Amenities: Good for beginners, Birding by car, Best time of day: Morning, Recommended length of visit: a few hours br>
Habitats: Freshwater Swamp, Dry Prairie/Grassland, Pines, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
While there are no amenities or public access at these unconventional sites, these two driving loops provide a good overview of the county and bird species that may be observed while traveling in rural south-central Florida. Start at the city of Okeechobee and as you drive north, then west, then south through the cattle country of Okeechobee County, keep your eyes peeled for Crested Caracaras perched on fence posts, wading birds and migratory shorebirds feeding at the muddy edges of watering holes and Mottled Ducks in the farm ponds. Florida Burrowing Owls and Sandhill Cranes occur in the pastures, and Swallow-tailed Kites circle over the fields and around the hammocks. Remember to respect private property, and as always when birding by car, drive safely and courteously. Mind the road at all times and don’t impede other motorists. Wherever you stop along the road shoulder, please make sure that you and your vehicle stay well out of the way of traffic. A spotting scope is recommended.
Directions: Long loop (take this loop if you wish to visit Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park): from SR 70 in Okeechobee, travel 15.3 mi. north on US 441/SR 15/N. Parrot Ave. to CR 724/Eagle Island Rd. Turn left (west) and go 12.1 miles to CR 700A/Durrance Rd. and turn left (south). Go 5.6 mi. to US 98 and turn left (southeast). This road will return you to SR 70 just west of Okeechobee, 14.1 mi. ahead. Short loop: take US 441/SR 15/N. Parrot Ave. north from downtown Okeechobee, and turn left (west) after 9.1 mi. onto CR 68A/Potter Rd./144th Dr. Go 3.3 mi. and turn right (north) on NW 40th Terrace. After 0.3 mi., turn left (west) on CR 68/NW 160th St., and after 7.4 mi., CR 68/NW 160th St. will intersect with US 98/SR 700. Turn left (southeast) here and follow US 98/SR 700 for 12.4 mi. back to SR 70, just west of the city of Okeechobee.
Open all year, 24 hours/day.