Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Wildlife Observations

January

Waterfowl: mallards, ring necked ducks, wood ducks, coots, green-winged teal, and hooded mergansers are seen in the prairies along with large numbers of greater sandhill cranes.

 

February

Ospreys begin nesting. Watch for aerial courtship displays of red-tailed hawks. Brown-headed nuthatches becoming active. Wild turkey seek mates during the latter part of the month.

 

March

Overwintering ducks, tree swallows, robins, phoebes, cedar waxwings, and greater sandhill cranes depart for northern nesting areas. Purple martins, parula warblers, and eastern kingbirds arrive. Watch for the courtship dances of resident Florida sandhill cranes. Wildflowers begin to bloom as the prairies fill with golden club and bladderworts. Alligators are seen sunning on the banks of the water trails.

April

Wading bird rookeries are active. Prothonotary warblers are common along the cypress-lined waterways. Sandhill crane chicks are hatching and ospreys are seen feeding their young in their high, bulky nests. Alligators begin territorial warnings as mating begins. Many orchids and the unusual insect-eating pitcher plants are blooming.

 

May

Endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers are active around their nesting colonies. Florida soft-shell turtles are laying eggs, and raccoons are just as rapidly digging up and eating the eggs. Turkey poults are seen walking in lose procession behind their hen. Warmouth perch fishing is improving. Newborn fawns appear.

 

June

Chorus, green tree, pig, carpenter, and over a dozen other species of frogs are heard during the evenings. White water lilies and sweet-bay flowers bloom. Good bream fishing.

 

July

Young herons, egrets, and ibis, now fully fledged, leave the rookeries. Wood storks are observed feeding in the prairies. Red-headed woodpeckers and pine warblers are seen in pine forest uplands. Deer are best viewed in the early morning; the bucks are showing their new sets of velvet-covered antlers.

 

August

Small flocks of blue-winged teal arrive. Alligator nests hatch and the young alligators may be heard “clucking” to their mother. Nighthawks and chuck-will’s widows frequent the evening sky, scooping insects from the air.

 

September

Fall migration begins as many different warblers move through the area. Fall fishing improves as daytime temperatures lower.

 

October

Black bears are active, feeding on acorns, nuts, and berries. Marsh hawks are seen gliding low over the prairies.

November

Robins and migrating greater sandhill cranes arrive with the cool weather. Watch for the occasional bald eagle, migrating through the swamp to Florida wintering sites. With cool weather comes the traditional fall color change. Cypress needles turn a golden brown and sweetgum leaves glow a reddish hue before tumbling to the ground.

December Otters are seen swimming in the lakes and boat trails as alligators become less active and cease feeding. Many white ibis, egrets, and herons feed in shallow lakes and prairies.

 

Last updated: June 10, 2013