Opportunities for bird watching abound. Wading
birds are especially prevalent along the edges of freshwater
marshes and ponds. Migratory warblers are abundant in March and
April and also during fall migration.
The interspersion of vegetation types on Half Moon
attracts species that use two or more natural communities,
resulting in a rich diversity of terrestrial vertebrates.
Wildlife Spotlight: Scrub-Jays
Half Moon hosts one of the few remaining
populations of federally threatened Florida scrub-jays in Sumter
County. Distinguished from the blue jay by lack of a crest, these
scrub-jays inhabit Half Moon's scrubby flatwoods, using unimproved
roads and fire lanes for foraging and acorn caching in place of the
patches of bare sand found in the scrub they typically inhabit.
Biologists survey scrub-jays on calm, clear days
beginning one hour after sunrise and ending before the heat of
midday. Scrub-jays are attracted by playing a tape recording of
territorial calls and scolds, including the female "hiccup" call. A
baseline survey conducted on Half Moon in 1990 detected an
estimated 15 scrub-jay groups, each consisting of 1-6 birds. Since
then, the population appears to be declining but more aggressive
habitat management and population monitoring efforts are cause for