The striking plumage of the red-headed woodpecker makes it an easy bird to identify.

With its mixture of uplands and aquatic habitats, Box-R attracts diverse and abundant resident and migratory wildlife. Expect rails, shorebirds and wading birds in the tidal marshes, while surrounding pine uplands host brown-headed nuthatches External Website, eastern towhees External Website, pine warblers External Website, red-bellied External Website, downy External Website and pileated woodpeckers External Website, southeastern American kestrels and Bachman’s sparrows. Bald eagles External Website, ospreys External Website, and swallow-tailed External Website and Mississippi kites External Website are common in the area.

During spring and fall migrations, check for neo-tropical songbirds in the hammocks and bottomland hardwoods. Wood ducks External Website (and other waterfowl), red-shouldered hawks External Website, barred owls External Website, Acadian flycatchers External Website, as well as northern parula External Website and Swainson’s External Website, prothonotary External Website, yellow-throated External Website and hooded warblers External Website favor floodplain swamp habitats.

Boaters may spot alligators, otters and a variety of turtle species. Box-R’s uplands are home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey External Website, feral hog, raccoon and opossum.

Check out other species recorded from Box-R WMA, or add observations of your own, by visiting the Box-R WMA Nature Trackers project External Website.

Wildlife Spotlight: Mourning Dove

The mourning dove is found in a wide variety of habitats.

The mourning dove, the most widespread and abundant game bird in North America, is found from southern Canada, throughout the United States to Central America and the Caribbean. Throughout its range, the mourning dove prefers open habitats, such as open woods, deserts and forest edges, and has adapted well to cities and suburbs, pastures, cultivated fields and other altered landscapes. In Florida, the species is commonly spotted year-round on backyard bird feeders and in a wide variety of habitat types. The population increases in the winter with the influx of northern birds.

The mourning dove has a small head, a gray-brown body, and a long, pointed tail with white outer edges. Overall, it has a distinctive streamlined silhouette. Its common name refers to its characteristic mournful hooting song. The mourning dove is a seed eater and feeds mostly on the ground. When nesting, females lay two eggs in a flimsy nest built of twigs, pine needles or grass stems placed on a horizontal branch of a tree or shrub. Several broods are raised each season. Mourning doves are attentive parents, incubating the eggs in shifts so that they are rarely unattended.

Other members of the pigeon and dove family native to Florida include the rare white-crowned pigeon and the small and stocky common ground-dove. The white-winged dove, Eurasian collared-dove, rock dove (the familiar "city pigeon"), and ringed turtle-dove are non-natives found in Florida. The Eurasian collared-dove has spread throughout Florida and is rapidly colonizing North America. This introduced species is slightly larger and heavier than the mourning dove and has a distinct black line, or collar, across the back of its neck.

FWC Facts:
The number of Florida residents who participate in wildlife viewing around their homes (3.3 million) would rank them as the 22nd largest state in the nation.

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