Do you already have a target list of animals you
hope to see? Is there a particular habitat that interests you?
Maybe you enjoy coastal areas and the chance to see shorebirds or
dolphins, or fresh water marshes with their alligators and wading
The key to successful wildlife viewing is to look
in the right places. Every animal has basic needs that include
food, water and cover and every habitat meets these needs in
different ways. Some animals are quite picky in their selection of
a home area. Gopher tortoises prefer dry, sandy areas; limpkins
live primarily along river swamps and freshwater marshes. Use the
Spotlight to help you locate the sites where you'll have a good
chance of finding your target species. If you know what part of the
state you'll be visiting, pick out viewing locations on the map and
go to the site description to see what animals are found there.
In addition to habitat preferences, animals also
have seasons when they are most viewable. Scarlet tanagers only
pass through Florida during spring and fall migration, but summer
tanagers nest here in the summer. Robins and common loons spend the
winter months in Florida, while blue jays and cardinals live here
year-round. Many state and national parks provide checklists that
list species commonly seen during particular seasons. Time of day
also influences animal movements. Though dawn and dusk are active
times for many animals, owls, flying squirrels and bats are most
active at night.
You may only see a few animals on a single visit to
a site, but repeated visits to the same site during different
seasons will increase your chances of viewing the resident and
migratory species associated with it.