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Wildlife is on the Move in Florida’s Fall and Winter

Barred owls, pictured here, begin courting in Florida's winter.  Photo by Judy Ludlow

Barred owls, pictured here, begin courting in Florida’s winter. Photo by Judy Ludlow

Each of Florida’s seasons is characterized by a variety of amazing wildlife activities.  Below is a list of some notable native wildlife behaviors occurring in November and December around Florida.  This information and more can be found at the following University of Florida website:  Wildlife Happenings

NOVEMBER

Birds

  • Put out your winter seed and suet feeders
  • Look for downy, hairy, red-bellied, and redheaded woodpeckers on suet feeders.
  • Cedar waxwings come south for the winter. Their flocks can be seen on cedars, hollies, cherry laurels, privet, and other fruit plants. 
  • Bald eagles begin their nesting season. Look for spectacular aerial courtship displays.
  • Sandhill cranes return in full force from their breeding grounds up north. (Only a small number live here all year round).
  • Many yellow-rumped warblers and palm warblers will be in neighborhoods, natural areas, and yards, and gray catbirds have already arrived, and will be skulking (and cat-calling!) in thickets.
  • Kinglets, phoebes, robins, and other northern songbirds have arrived for the winter

Mammals

  • Deer rutting intensifies in central and northern Florida.
  • Bears are on the move and crossing roads, especially in Central Florida
  • As water temperatures lower, manatees begin to move to relatively warm waters at springs. Boaters beware of idle speed zones.
  • Look for migrating Hoary and Red Bats in North Florida. Hoary is a large bat with frosted fur.

Amphibians

  • Ornate chorus frogs begin calling.

Fish

  • Spotted sea trout should enter tidal creeks around Thanksgiving.
  • Bass congregate around jetties in south end of Lake George.

DECEMBER:

Birds

  • The annual Christmas bird count begins mid-December.  Visit these websites for more information.

National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count
The Christmas Bird Count — A Long Tradition

  • This is the best time for watching waterfowl on wetlands, lakes, and prairies.
  • Great horned owls and barred owls courting. Listen for them.
  • Look for Goldfinches at north Florida feeders.
  • Yellow-rumped warblers will show-up at feeders if it is cold enough.
  • In north Florida, bald eagles start hatching about Christmas day.

Mammals

  • Right whales appear off east coast north of Sebastian Inlet

More of these “happenings” for the calendar year can be found at the UF’s Florida Wildlife Extension Website:  Wildlife Happenings.   Also at the Wildlife Extension website are a number of interesting resources to learn not only about our native wildlife, but our non-native/invasive wildlife as well.  Up to date facts about non-native animals in Florida can be found in the UF/IFAS Invader Updater newsletter.   

 

PG

Author: Judy Ludlow – judy.ludlow@ufl.edu

Judy Ludlow is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Ludlow

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/11/02/wildlife-is-on-the-move-in-floridas-fall-and-winter/