Wildlife Observation

Photo by Denny Baer

Wildlife viewing is excellent on the Refuge, especially during fall, winter, and spring along the 4.5 mile Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and adjacent hiking/bicycling trails. The American alligator is almost always seen during a trip through and it isn't unusual to see 25 or more at various spots around the Drive.


Many species of wading and marsh birds can also be spotted here throughout the year. The trails adjacent to the Kingfisher Pond Recreation Area are great for watching woodland songbirds such as prothonotary warblers and American redstarts during spring and fall migrations. Summertime brings in purple gallinules in the managed impoundments and swallow-tailed kites soaring in the sky. Both species nest on the refuge.


Other species, such as deer, bobcat, feral pig, snakes, turtles, and the rare manatee are more elusive and require close observation and a little luck to find.