Dry Tortugas: Apr 30—May 03, 2009

Register NowTour Details

Price: $1,295
Departs: Key West
Tour Limit: 11
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (79 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mi...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Colony of Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies, Dry Tortugas

Colony of Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies, Dry Tortugas— Photo: Rafael Galvez


Unique birding experience to a tropical island outpost features nesting colonies of terns, noddies, boobies, and frigatebirds; high potential for migrating warblers and many other songbirds; and the rich history of Civil War-era Fort Jefferson.

Seventy miles west of Key West, Florida lies a cluster of coralline islands known as the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters of the Gulf of Mexico, these sandy outposts form the core of Dry Tortugas National Park. As the only tropical islands associated with the mainland United States, the Tortugas are most famous for the colonies of seabirds that nest here and nowhere else in the country.

On tiny Bush Key, birders can witness the gathering of tens of thousands of Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies, while nearby Hospital Key and Long Key are home to smaller but equally remarkable colonies of Masked Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

Garden Key, site of historic Fort Jefferson and headquarters of the national park, serves as a vital oasis for migrating land birds including warblers (more than 15 species possible), thrushes, cuckoos, orioles, buntings, and more. Scouring the key for migrants, there is always the possibility of finding a West Indian stray. The boat rides to and from the Tortugas typically render Brown Booby, Bridled and Roseate terns, Audubon’s Shearwater, and Pomarine Jaeger. Past tours have seen White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby, Black Noddy, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Bahama Mockingbird, and Bananaquit.

Travel to the Tortugas is by boat; smooth conditions expected but rough water possible; sunny and hot weather likely, with rain storms possible.