Address: 4535 Main St Jacksonville, FL 32206
Parking: The cemetery gates are open from 8am – 6pm. There is parking throughout the property along the small roads, but I have found it best to park in the back half of the property in the northeast quadrant, at the elbow of “Cummer Drive”. This part of the cemetery is still mostly uninhabited and shaded.
Facilities: No known facilities. There are probably restrooms in the office, but I have not visited them and wouldn’t recommend asking to use them if you’re there birdwatching.
Trails: There are no “trails”, but there are miles of roads throughout the acreage. Many are paved, but even more are unpaved.
Target Species: American Robin (breeds), Northern Flicker (breeds), Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher (breeds), Northern Parula (breeds), Brown Creeper.
About: Evergreen Cemetery is located in north central Jacksonville and is made up of 137 acres of heavily wooded property. It has been operating as a cemetery for 130 years, and according to their website it is “Jacksonville’s oldest and most prestigious operating cemetery”, and “is one of the South’s most beautiful.” I have been visiting this property for some twenty years, first as a runner participating in the annual “Pumpkin Run” each fall, and more recently as a bird watcher and nature enthusiast. It has consistently been immaculately maintained over those decades, and is without a doubt one of the best publicly accessible places in northeast Florida for wandering through old-growth oak canopies.
Birding Strategy: I suggest driving well into the cemetery from the main entrance and find a suitable, respectable place to park. There are no real “parking lots”, and most of the available parking is along the side of the roads. Be mindful that you don’t pull into the grasses on a shoulder and end up mistakenly parking on a grave site.
After parking, stroll the acres of mostly-shaded roads and pathways. The canopies are dense, high, and very well maintained, making for perfect birdwatching. In the summer, the property hosts one of the largest breeding “colonies” of American Robins in Florida…the only place that rivals the numbers of summering Robins in the state is a cemetery in Tallahassee.
The statuary throughout the cemetery is spectacular in places, and range from neo-classic to gothic, to almost everything in between.