In addition to deer, turkey and feral hogs that draw human hunters, Corbett provides habitat for many other types of wildlife, including the Bachman's sparrow and federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The 3,000-acre sawgrass marsh is habitat for the endangered snail kite. Up to 20 pairs of sandhill cranes nest on Corbett during fall and winter.
The best place to view wildlife year-round is the Hungryland Boardwalk and Trail. The 1.2-mile trail is located away from the hunt areas and has interpretive signs describing the plant and animal communities.
Look for white-tailed deer and bobcats in early morning and late afternoon. Pileated woodpeckers and barred and screech owls forage in the cypress dome. River otters and raccoons are sometimes seen near the boardwalk. Look for herons, egrets and common yellowthroats in the marshes. Listen as you walk, red-shouldered hawks are commonly heard.
Check the oak hammocks and cypress for large numbers of migratory warblers in spring and fall. The L-8 Canal is a great birding spot: look for roseate spoonbills, wood storks, ibis, tri-colored herons, great blue herons, and other wading birds.
Wildlife Spotlight: Roseate Spoonbill
Called "one of the most breathtaking of the world's weird birds" by ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson, the roseate spoonbill was confused with flamingoes by early settlers. In the 1830s Audubon discovered these exquisite birds while searching for nonexistent flamingo nests. Also called the "flame bird" and the "banjo bill," the roseate spoonbill has pink feathers with scarlet-tinted wings, and an orange tail. The pink color results from its diet of shrimp, small fish, snails, and aquatic insects.
In the early 1990s a biologist and engineer discovered that the bird's flat bill creates mini-whirlpools that suck out submerged prey. Like many wading birds, the spoonbill almost became extinct early in this century as the result of plume hunters. The feathers of the spoonbill itself were not sought as they quickly fade. Unfortunately, the egret that shared colonies with the spoonbills were highly prized. As a consequence, the spoonbill deserted their nests. Although its numbers have increased, the roseate spoonbill is still threatened primarily by habitat loss and is listed as a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.