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:
Ospreys, also known as "fish hawks," are expert anglers that like to hover above the water, locate their prey and then swoop down for the capture with talons extended.

Learn More at AskFWC