Wildlife Monthly Events


January

  • Nesting activity begins for ospreys, sandhill cranes, black vultures, and some herons and egrets.
  • Deer reach the peak of the rutting season in north Florida.
  • Gray foxes, bobcats, and raccoons begin courtship and breeding this month.
  • Look for red-tailed hawks perched in trees and on billboards along interstates.
  • Huge clouds of tree swallows should be visible around sunset, roosting over large marsh areas.
  • Cedar waxwings and robins are eating fruits such as holly berries.
  • Male cardinals begin territorial singing later in the month.
  • Early returning purple martins can be seen in South Florida.
  • Put your old Christmas tree to good use! Start a brush pile near your bird feeder.  Not only will it provide good year-round cover for birds, but it will also take up a lot less space than in your county land fill.

Hunting Information

For more information on hunting visit FWC Hunting Information.

  • General gun season for antlered deer and wild hogs (only where they are established as a game animal) continues until February 16 in the Northwest Zone, January 23 in the Central Zone, and January 9 in the South Zone.
  • Turkey (only bearded turkeys or gobblers) season continues until January 16 in the Northwest Zone, January 9 in the Central and South Zones.
  • Quail and Squirrel season continues until March 5 in all Zones.
  • Dove season continues until January 9.
  • Crow season continues until January 23.
  • Waterfowl and coot season continues until January 18.
  • Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day in January 22.  Only children under 16 may hunt.  They must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

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February

  • Early Purple Martin scouts will start to appear in Florida this month.  Now is the time to raise houses or gourds.
  • Screech Owls begin nesting in the central region of the state.
  • South Florida should start seeing Wild Turkey and Quail breeding activity.
  • Magnificent Frigatebirds begin nesting in mangroves in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
  • American Swallow-tailed Kites return to Florida form South American wintering areas.
  • Woodcocks begin courtship behavior in north Florida.  List at dusk for their "peenting" in open fields.
  • Ospreys will begin nesting in north Florida near the end of the month.
  • Pileated Woodpeckers begin their mating season and will start announcing territories by drumming on various objects including houses and telephone poles.
  • Others who are beginning their nesting season include:  Little Blue and Tri-colored Herons, Wood and Mottled Ducks, and Snail Kites.
  • Purple Finches and Pine Siskins will leave our feeders and begin their migration back to northern nesting areas.
  • Alligator Snapping Turtles will start mating this month, with nesting activity throughout the spring.
  • Eastern Moles are breeding this month in tunnels under our lawns.
  • Pocket Gophers begin their spring breeding season.
  • Striped Skunks begin their breeding season.

Hunting Information

For more information on hunting visit FWC Hunting Information.

  • Quail and Gray Squirrel hunting season is still open.
  • Antlered Deer and Wild Hog general gun season in the Northwest Zone (Panhandle) is open until February 16.
  • Special archery and muzzleloading for Deer in the Northwest Zone (Panhandle), February 17-27.

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March

  • Frogs and toads move to ponds, streams, and ditches to breed during rainy nights.
  • - Gulf of Mexico Sturgeon spawn in the Suwannee River during the spring or early summer.
  • Largemouth bass spawn throughout central Florida.
  • White bass run up the Ochlockonee River above Lake Talquin.
  • Many birds begin nesting.
  • Snakes and other reptiles are move active and likely to be seen in yards and gardens.
  • Wild turkeys and quail begin breeding in central and north Florida.
  • Mangrove cuckoos return to the Keys.
  • Summer tanagers and great-crested flycatchers arrive to breed.
  • Swallow tailed kites return to south Florida wetlands.
  • Listen for newly-returned chuck-will's-widows calling after sunset.
  • Hummingbirds return.
  • Woodpeckers begin announcing their territories by drumming on loud objects.
  • Litters of raccoons, bobcat, and armadillos are being born.
  • Last chance to see manatee concentrations in various springs this winter.
  • Purple martins begin nesting.

Hunting Information

For more information on hunting visit FWC Hunting Information.

  • Quail and gray squirrel hunting season ends on March 5.
  • Spring turkey season begins (March 18 in NW and Central Zones, and March 4 in South Zone)

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April

  • Black bears begin moving after winter's inactivity.
  • Long-tailed weasels, minks and river otters will be born April through May.
  • Endangered gray bats return to Florida caves to raise young.
  • Sooty terns take over Dry Tortugas for nesting.
  • Bobwhite quail nest now through September.
  • Migrant warblers concentrate on coasts.
  • Swallowtail and Mississippi kites return.
  • Great-crested flycatchers return.  They use shedded snake skin in their nests.
  • Watch for hummingbirds feeding on blooms of columbine, buckeye, and feeders.
  • Pine barrens treefrogs begin calling.
  • Carolina anoles breed - red dulap.
  • Most Florida snakes begin mating, rituals.
  • Beginning of sea turtle nesting season on Florida beaches.
  • Largemouth bass move into shallow water in Lake Talquin.
  • Plant extra parsley for black swallowtail butterfly larvae to eat.

Hunting Information

For more information on hunting visit FWC Hunting Information

  • Spring turkey season ends.

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May

  • Least terns and snowy plovers nest on beaches and flat rooftops.
  • The last of the cedar waxwings and gold finches head for their northern breeding grounds.
  • Painted buntings nest through summer in northeast Florida.
  • Brown pelican and white ibis young are now visible in nests.
  • Crocodile nesting begins in Southwest Florida.
  • Courtship ritual of adult alligators begins, noted by the loud and resounding bellows and water slapping.  Continues through June.
  • Loggerhead and green sea turtles begin nighttime nesting on sandy beaches.
  • Soft-shell and alligator snapping turtles complete egg laying.
  • Gray bats congregate at maternity caves now through mid-July.
  • Bluegill begin to bed during full moon.
  • Flathead catfish congregate below Jim Woodruff Damp, Apalachicola River.
  • Peak flight month for Schaus' swallowtail butterfly in the Keys.

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June

  • It is the height of the gopher tortoise breeding season.
  • Red bats and Seminole bats are being born.
  • Southern flying squirrels' breeding season begins.
  • It's breeding season for least terns, oystercatchers, and black skimmers. They nest on islands, undisturbed beaches, and even rooftops when their preferred habitat is unavailable.

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July

  • Look for frigate birds flying overhead in south Florida.
  • Shorebirds are nesting on beaches.
  • Listen for Eastern narrowmouth toads ("waaa", like a baying sheep) after heavy rains.
  • Treefrogs are laying eggs which hatch into tadpoles in about 5 days.
  • Alligators and crocodiles will begin to hatch.
  • Armadillos are breeding.
  • Gray squirrels are being born.

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August

  • Black bear cubs are weaning from their mothers.
  • Short-tailed shrews are beginning a second round of breeding for the year.
  • First flocks of blue-winged and green-winged teal arrive to winter on Florida lakes and wetlands.
  • Swallow-tailed kites begin gathering in communal night roosts before migrating.
  • Purple martins and tree swallows begin to gather to migrate south for the winter.
  • Yellow warbler migration begins.
  • Young sea turtles are hatching so watch where you're walking on the beach.
  • Gopher tortoise and turtle eggs are hatching.
  • Indigo snake and other snake eggs are hatching.

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September

  • Hawk migration begins at St. Joseph Peninsula in Gulf County.
  • Bald eagles return to next sites and begin courtship.
  • Deer breeding begins in south Florida flatwoods.
  • Gray bats migrate to Alabama caves for winter hibernation.
  • Atlantic sturgeon begin fall migration from the Suwannee and Apalachicola Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Blue crabs migrate from the shallow panhandle coast to deeper water for the winter.
  • Blue crab "jubilee" also begins along panhandle beaches.

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October

  • Turkey Vultures return to the Miami Courthouse and other areas in South Florida.
  • Northeast Florida: Look for migrating Peregrine falcons in natural areas. especially along the coast as they follow shorebird prev.
  • Warbler migration peaks early this month.
  • Monarch butterfly migration nears its peak along Florida's Gulf coast.
  • Sandhill cranes that nested in more northern latitudes move down to join our resident birds.
  • Peak in chimney swift migrations in South Florida.
  • Flatwoods salamanders breed with the first rains of the October.
  • Flying squirrels will be moving into pecan groves as the nuts ripen.

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November

  • Cedar waxwings come south for the winter.  Their flocks can be seen on cedars, hollies, cherry laurels, privet, and other fruit plants.
  • Peak of deer rutting in central and north Florida.
  • Hunting seasons for deer, turkey, and quail, and gray squirrel are in full swing.
  • Ornate chorus frogs begin calling.
  • Look for downy, hairy, red-bellied, and red-headed woodpeckers on suet feeders.
  • Bald eagles begin their nesting season.  Look for spectacular aerial courtship displays.
  • As water temperatures lower, manatees begin to move to relatively warm waters at springs.  Boaters beware of idle speed zones.

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December

  • Snail kites gather in large south Florida roosts, and nesting activity begins.
  • This is the best time for watching waterfowl on wetlands, lakes, and prairies.
  • Great horned owls and barred owls courting.  Listen for them.
  • Oscars abundant in Everglades Water Conservation Area canals, taking worms, crickets, and beetle spins.
  • Look for Goldfinches at north Florida feeders.
  • In north Florida, bald eagles start hatching about Christmas day.

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January

Male Cardinal
Male Cardinals begin to sing in January.


February

Osprey
Nesting activity begins for Ospreys.


March

Wild Turkey
Wild turkeys and quail begin breeding in central and north Florida


April

Black bear

Black bears begin moving after winter's inactivity.


May

Alligator courtship begins
Courtship ritual of adult alligators begins, noted by the loud and resounding bellows and water slapping.  Continues through June.


June

Tortoise
It is the height of the gopher tortoise breeding season.


July

Tree Frog
Treefrogs are laying eggs which hatch into tadpoles in about 5 days


August

Sea Turtle
Young sea turtles are hatching so watch where you're walking on the beach.


September

Bald Eagle
Bald eagles return to next sites and begin courtship.


October

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch butterfly migration nears its peak along Florida's Gulf coast.


November

Deer
Peak of deer rutting in central and north Florida.


December
Owl

Great horned owls and barred owls courting.  Listen for them.