Shopping and Birding in Miami

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South Florida and Miami in particular is a magnet that draws shoppers from South & Central America and the Caribbean. It seems as if at every neighborhood in the city there is a mall and there is variety in the malls. There are strip malls, regular malls, outlet malls. Shopping in Miami is year round but seems to reach a fever pitch on the 3rd Friday in November which is the day immediately after the American Thanksgiving holiday. Known as Black Friday because the hordes of shoppers are expected to drive retailers into the black (profit). Black Friday is a day of deep discounts that marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. At some malls shopping starts at midnight, while at others the shopping begins at 5am. As soon as the stores open the hordes descend.South Florida is also a magnet for migratory and Neotropical birds. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, Florida is in the pathway of birds migrating from their summer breeding grounds in northern and central U.S.A. to their winter grounds in Central or South America and the Caribbean. For some species Florida is their winter home. An abundance of ponds, lakes and waterways means that Florida is especially good for waterbirds.This dual magnetic force means that during Thanksgiving you can combine two passions; shopping and birding. Or husbands can accompany wives to the mall and while the wife shops the husband indulges in some bird watching. Dolphin Mall located on NW 12th Street off the Florida Turnpike is a good location. The Mall has a huge selection of stores with a wide variety of items. The mall also has two ponds along 12th Street next to the mall parking lot. Among the birds that can be seen in those ponds are Anhingas, Coots, Grey Herons and Snowy Egrets.At other malls, the desire to introduce greenery into an asphalt and concrete jungle has resulted in trees around and within parking lots. These trees have in turn attracted various bird species. So simply wandering the parking lots gives you the opportunity to see different species of birds.Even if you do not go near the malls on Black Friday, it is easy to indulge in bird watching in South Florida. The numerous lakes and ponds in residential areas attract birdlife particularly waterfowl. Among the most easily seen Florida waterfowl are Double-crested Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Common Moorhen, Green (Green-backed) Heron and the most common waterfowl found in Florida’s suburban areas, Muscovy Ducks. The Intracoastal Waterway and other canals along the highways and roads are also good locations for spotting avian life and it is easy to stop at an attractive spot. For the more dedicated birdwatcher South Florida has numerous state and national parks.So when next you are planning a trip to South Florida, remember, you can combine shopping and bird watching.