Wildlife Through the Year: May

  • Tropic birds arrive in Dry Tortugas.
  • Bald eagles begin migrating north.
  • Red-cockaded woodpeckers are breeding.
  • Flathead catfish congregate below Jim Woodruff Dam, Apalachicola River.
  • Courtship ritual of adult alligators begins, noted by the loud and resounding bellows and water slapping. Continues through June.
  • Peak flight period for Schaus' swallowtail butterfly in Keys.
  • The last of the cedar waxwings and goldfinches head for their northern breeding grounds.
  • Painted buntings nest through summer in northeast Florida.
  • White swamp lilies dot wet prairies and sloughs in the Everglades.
  • Least terns nest on beaches, sandy flats, and flat gravel rooftops that look like beaches!
  • Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day.
  • Brown pelican and white ibis young are now visible in nests.
  • White-crowned pigeons begin nesting on mangrove islands in Florida Bay.
  • Breeding begins for many resident and summer songbirds.
  • Bluegill are bedding at the full moon.
  • Redbreast sunfish and spotted sunfish begin spawning in rivers.
  • Pompano are running in the north Florida surf.
  • Green sea turtles will begin nesting more abundantly now through September.
  • Lights Out! Sea turtles emerge from their nests and head for the ocean. Females may become confused by lights on the beach.
  • Peak of coyote denning season.
  • Most bats give birth May through mid-June.
  • American lotus in bloom on wetlands.
  • Alligator snapping turtles nesting this month.

FWC Facts:
The Florida Bird Conservation Initiative is a voluntary, public-private partnership that seeks to promote the sustainability of native Florida birds and their habitats.

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