By November 4, 2013

Wildlife is on the Move in Florida’s Fall and Winter by Judy Ludlow ……

Each of Florida’s seasons is characterized by a variety of amazing wildlife activities. 



fOR-PAN-AGBarred owls, pictured at right, begin courting in Florida’s winter. Photo by Judy Ludlow


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




  • 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


  • 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.


  • Ornate chorus frogs begin calling.


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





  • 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.


  • 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.  


Author: Judy Ludlow –

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

Posted in: Local News