This is great news! The Withlacoochee State Forest (Croom and Citrus Tracts) and Dry Tortugas National Park have been honored with receiving global "Important Bird Area" status. The IBA status is awarded by the National Audubon Society and Birdlife International to significant areas all around the world. Criteria for receiving the status includes the occurrence of species that are vunerable to global extinction, and the site may be either public or privately owned.
The Withlacoochee State Forest protects one of the largest sandhill crane habitats in Florida and is home to 85-90 breeding pairs of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The only known nesting site in the United States for Magnificent Frigatebirds and Bridled Terns is found at Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles southwest of Key West.
These two areas join the list of 35 other places in Florida that have already received global IBA status. Among those locations are the Blackwater State Forest, the Lake Wales Ridge, the Fisheating Creek Watershed and the Northern Everglades. To search the full list of IBA-designated places in Florida, click here.