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Wildlife Wednesdays: Bird is the Word for Cast Members During 2nd Annual Walt Disney World Resort Bird Count

posted on January 25th, 2012 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs

Last Saturday, I got to spend the day doing one of the things I like best—outside enjoying nature right here at the Walt Disney World Resort. I participated, along with my fellow Disney cast members and their families and friends, in the 2nd annual holiday bird count at the Walt Disney World Resort and surrounding area organized by the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team.


We counted an amazing 115 different bird species and over 22,000 individual birds! We were so excited to spot some rare bird species such as Florida scrub-jays, peregrine falcons, roseate spoonbills, red-headed woodpeckers, limpkins, buffleheads, and 17 bald eagles! But the biggest treat was seeing more than 5,500 American robins as they winter in Florida before they migrate north in the spring.


Guests had fun joining in, stopping – for example – to view a magnificent hawk perched high in World Showcase at Epcot, and lingering in the evening as they were leaving Disney’s Animal Kingdom to join us in watching white ibises, little blue herons, snowy egrets, and a variety of other birds return to an area near the Oasis to roost for the night.

See how many birds you can count in this video from the event!

Walt Disney World Resort Holiday Bird Count Fun Facts:

  • The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has provided more than $5.7 million to support bird conservation around the world.
  • Our holiday bird count is modeled after the Audubon Christmas bird count, which began in 1900.
  • Data collected in bird counts from year to year allows scientists to follow trends in bird populations and abundance over time. These trends help scientists focus their conservation efforts in key bird areas.
  • Nearly one-third of the Walt Disney World Resort has been set aside as a dedicated wildlife conservation area.
  • An abundance of birds make their home in Florida year-round, and even more birds are here during the winter as the migrate from the north to Florida and beyond. You can find out more at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 12 as we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day.
  • We can help birds and other wildlife by observing them from a safe distance and not feeding them “human” food, which is unhealthy for them.
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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Arthur on January 25th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

This is a great initiative. Can guests participate in this in any way? I’m a birder and passholder, and I’m always looking at birds when I’m at Disney World. Thank you for supporting bird conservation.


Deborah from PA on January 26th, 2012 at 7:58 am

Now this is something I would love the opportunity to do! I live on the edge of a state forest so I get to see many birds that others seldom see. I’ve done a little bit of birdwatching at WDW in the early morning along the river at POFQ and enjoy seeing the birds that we don’t have here in PA.


Samantha on January 26th, 2012 at 8:11 am

I really enjoyed this post. I love bird watching! Thanks for posting this! The video was nice to see lots of different birds.I counted 60+ birds in the video.


Valerie on January 26th, 2012 at 9:11 am

We saw a Bald Eagle persched in a tree outside Saratoga Springs when we were there in October. It was awesome!


Doug from IN on January 26th, 2012 at 11:40 am


Congratulations on your nomination for the Indianapolis Prize! We will be rooting for you here in Indiana!


Jeffrey on January 26th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

@Arthur Anyone can join the Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-21; you can count in your backyard, a national park, or anywhere in North America, then submit what you see online.


Holly on January 26th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Great! I’d love to do this with my family next year. :)


renee from NJ on January 29th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

And this is why I love Disney so much! It’s not just about the rides… it’s about the experience. There is something new to learn and see every time you visit!


Gordon from TX on January 29th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

When is the next one? Perfect trip for a Disney dork and his bird nerd wife!


Geraldine on January 30th, 2012 at 9:27 am

Walking on the path from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary in September 2010, we heard the most beautiful song bird I’ve ever heard. It was mid afternoon, probably. Would love to know what kind of bird it was – couldn’t see it.