FELTS AUDUBON PRESERVE, an attractive, 28-acre parcel in Palmetto, was originally farmland and was donated to the Manatee County Audubon Society in 2002. The Audubon Society now manages the land under a conservation easement recently established to protect the preserve as a natural area in perpetuity. More than a mile of footpaths, mostly of mowed grass that may not be wheelchair accessible, provide access to a covered bird blind, uplands, pine flatwoods, ponds, wetlands, and meadows that attract migratory and nesting birds. The preserve is open every day, sunrise to sunset. Park on the shoulder of the road (24th Avenue E, aka Oakhurst Road), and walk into the preserve through the pedestrian access. If you require handicapped access, locate the gate with the alphabetical lock and enter the combination “SAND.” An “Open House” is held on the first Saturday of each month, from October through April, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., with a Guided Birdwalk, led by a Bird Naturalist, available at 9:30 a.m. For the Birdwalk, meet at the front parking lot entrance gate. Portable restrooms are located near the entrance. No admission fee.
Featured Birds: At Felts, the Manatee Audubon Society has documented sightings of 194 avian species, while more than 190 species have been recorded here by eBirders. Depending upon the season, birders may see: Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Indigo and Painted Bunting, thrushes, warblers, vireos, herons, egrets and ducks. Be sure to check out the Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes!
Insider’s Tip: The bird blind provides visitors an excellent opportunity for up-close viewing and photography of the wide array of species attracted to the blind’s many feeders. During migration and winter, the much-sought-after Indigo and Painted Bunting often visit the blind. The blind’s large windows may be carefully removed to afford unobstructed views. (Kindly replace the windows when departing, and move slowly and quietly within the blind and when entering and leaving, so as not to startle the birds).
Address: 4600 24th Ave E, Palmetto, FL 34221
GPS Coordinates: 27.555106, -82.539160
Dogs are not permitted and are not allowed within this conservation property.