SEASONAL CALENDAR OF WILDLIFE EVENTS 

 

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January

Waterfowl at peak numbers.

Huge (>10,000 birds) tree swallow roosting flocks are often present in the marshes and hammock to the west of Pool 3, and can occasionally be seen doing their ritual pre-roosting flights at dusk.

February

First spring migrants begin to return by the end of the month.

Reptiles begin to emerge from winter dormancy and become more apparent by the end of the month.

March

Black-necked stilts return in the second half of the month, and a couple of pairs may remain to breed if the water levels are suitable.

Wintering waterfowl have mostly left by the end of the month.

Parula warblers return from wintering grounds and begin singing.

Banded water snake males can be seen swimming aimlessly  in the canals and impoundments, most likely seeking mates.

Striped crayfish snakes crossing the dikes in mid-late afternoon.

April

Spring migration in full swing.

Black-necked stilts abundant on Pool 1.

May

Alligators begin courtship and nest building.  Bellowing males can be most frequently heard early or late in the day, or before thunderstorms.   Thunderclaps sometimes elicit bellowing.

Many early breeding birds already have their first brood of young out of the nest.

June

Manatees are present on Lake Woodruff and associated waterways.

Alligator nesting is underway as females guard their eggs.

Mid-summer (mid-June to mid-July) is probably the least eventful time to visit the refuge.  If you do visit, try and be there early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  Mid-days are especially unproductive for most wildlife viewing.

Marsh mallows of a couple of species are in full flower in many areas of the marshes and impoundments.

July

By mid-month, large pre-migratory concetntrations of swallow-tailed kites begin to build at a large communal roost at an undisclosed location on the refuge.  Groups of birds disperse outwards to feed during the day, and can be seen from most parts of the refuge between 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. on most mornings in late July and early August.

August

Many species of snakes give birth (live-bearing species) or eggs laid early in the summer begin to hatch.

Swallow-tailed kites active over many refuge habitats until about mid-month.

Broods of gallinules and rails present in marshes and impoundments.

September

First migrant blue-winged teal arrive. 

Songbird migration increasing throughout the month.

Wading bird numbers and activity on the refuge impoundments is increasing.

October

Warbler migration is at its peak.

Wintering vultures begin arriving in large numbers and roosting at several sites on the refuge.

Maple trees developing fall colors.

November

Bald eagles begin nesting.

Waterfowl numbers and diversity increasing.

Manatees leave the waterways for the warmer spring waters of Blue Spring.

December   

Prescribed burning programs begin.

Christmas Bird Count conducted by West Volusia Audubon Society.

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