Seasons of Wildlife

Butterflies on liatris

Winter, spring, summer, and fall!  Enjoy all the seasons of wildlife of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge throughout the year.  

  • Spring

    Swallow-tailed kite / Artur Pedziwilk ©

    Spring time is the best season for birding here. A few straggling migratory birds stay for the warm weather and can be found all over the Lower Suwannee:  at observation decks, in the forest, along the shoreline and in their nests. In late March and early April, everyone looks to the sky for the first swallow-tail kite returning from South America.  They only stay until late August, so the spectacular glimpses of their flight are highly valued.  They can be seen soaring above the canopy of trees or over hay fields as they swoop after grasshoppers. The Refuge offers perfect habitat for them – tall pines near swampy areas where predatory owls don’t care to visit.  Ospreys, bald eagles, and white pelicans can be seen from the Shell Mound area. 

  • Summer

    E.tiger swallowtail butterfly

    Heat of summer keeps most large mammals moving at dawn and dusk, so you'll need to take the Nature Drive early to see whitetail deer feeding and bobcat hunting. Red tail and red shoulder hawks are always hunting and can even be seen on County Roads 347, 349 and 357. Non-native hogs, a scourge on the southeast, can be seen at any time of day.  Native pollinators feed on nectar and pick-up pollen from the wildflowers that grow throughout the Refuge.  The spectacular array of butterflies will captivate you and keep your shutter busy; the thistle and liatris are covered with butterflies as summer turns into fall.

  • Autumn

    wild bee on fall wildflowers

    There are 4,400 species of native bees in America; there are about a dozen in the pollinator garden featured at Refuge Headquarters. Bumble bees, digger bees, the tiny sweat bees, and orchard bees are the most often seen.  They gather nectar from the native flowers and pick-up pollen on their legs.  The beautiful blue orchard bees is the most efficient pollinator in America.  Come enjoy the varieties of flowers, butterflies, and native bees

  • Winter


    Migration from the chill of northern winters brings marbled godwits, avocets, and occasional wimbrels and stilts that can be seen from Shell Mound's large parking area. Migratory songbirds can be seen at Shell Mound and the adjacent Dennis Creek Trail. Ospreys, bald eagles, and white pelicans can all be seen flying around Shell Mound.