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Snow Birds flock to Florida for annual nesting

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This is the time of year the Snow Birds begin to fly south to warmer climes. Some fly via airline, some by car, some by train, some by boat. All want to escape the cold weather, snow and ice of the Northern winters. It happens every year at this time. I-95 is crowded with automobiles going south. Car haulers are filled with the shipped cars of the northern Snow Bird who is usually over 70 and flying to meet the plane at a pre decided destination. The traffic in the warmest areas of the state of Florida identify where most of the Snow Birds decide to roost for the winter. When the spring thaw occurs (usually in March) the egress takes the same routes as they flock back to their nests of origin.
The Snow Bird is not a rare ornithological example found only in the U.S. One can identify types of Snow Birds from Canada, British Columbia, and some European destinations as well. The warmth and sunshine of Florida are kind to the arthritic bones and joints of the seniors who seek them. People who seem to have lost the will to live come to Florida for the winter. Thus the state’s nickname “God’s Waiting Room” is appropriate because the area blossoms annually with the thousands of migratory adventurers who come to play and forget their old age.
In Florida the Snow Bird can access excellent health care at clinics such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and the Watson Clinic which all employ the most qualified physicians in the world to care for what we euphemistically call “the aged”. Each doctor’s appointment is often treated like an outing and includes lunch and a little shopping. The best clothes are chosen because one never knows who one will see while he or she is out. Many of the enclaves where the Snow Birds nest have excellent recreation areas where a person can learn to play an instrument, use a computer, ballroom dancing, pottery, jewelry making or enjoy leisure endeavors such as cards, mahjong, chess, or even croquet. Each play usually includes several heated pools and hot tubs for relaxation or exercise. There are tennis courts, golf courses, horse shoe pits, bowls or other areas of exercise to choose from.
Each area of sunshine offers many different denominations of churches where the visitors from other places go to worship. Almost any well-known chain restaurant is represented in Florida. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of cinemas, theaters, dinner theaters, clubs, bars, eateries, diners, show venues and other means of entertainment for a Snow Bird’s choice. Flea Markets with the offer of brand name or knockoff merchandise at bargain prices as well as local produce and fruit, flowers, trees, clothes and food draw hundreds every weekend to outdoor venues to buy or merely mingle and look. The central area of the state offers the Atlantic Ocean theme parks such as Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Lego Land. The east coast of the state offers beaches galore with lovely packed sand and clean waters which seem warm to those used to freezing weather in that particular time of year. There are zoos, parks, art galleries, museums, historical areas, “outlet” shopping centers, dog racing, horse racing and thousands of golf courses. Who could ask for more? The west coast of the state offers the Gulf of Mexico, sugar white sands, deep sea fishing, the circus, the Dali art collection/museum, Broadway musicals, stage plays, gun shows, antique shows, seafood, the Everglades, spring training, winter camp (for sports clubs). The Keys offer John Pennekamp State Park with untouched beauty of coral, underwater beauty, fish of all species, and salt water flora. Key West, the very last spot of land in Florida, is filled with haunting memories of Hemingway and other writers, visions of salvage tycoons like Mel Fisher (who has a museum for the booty taken from the sunken Spanish ship Atocha).
What small area of the world could make so many cold people warmer? Where else could older people go from merely ”existing” to “living” in the matter of a few days of rest and good food? Snow Birds annually greet friends from years before or those who moved to Florida permanently. They gather in small restaurants and bars owned by people who have lived where they still live and understand the desire to remember their home state or town. Local sports are carried on the televisions there. Local papers and city magazines are available to be read. It is the best of both worlds.
No matter the lists of places suggested in the travel magazines or listed in the advertisements for holidays in the Sunday paper, Snow Birds return to Florida each year as surely as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano. They seek sun, warmth, friends, good food, and the opportunity to be treated as viable adults once more. Winter affords them the possibility to do this. Florida offers them the place.

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