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  • Shannon Carnevale

Embracing November: A Seasonal Shift in Polk County’s Natural World

As we bid farewell to the hurricane season and the wetter months, November brings a refreshing change to Polk County. 


UF/IFAS Photo Josh Wickham UF/IFAS Photographer

You might have noticed the air getting a bit crisper and the skies clearer. That’s right—November marks the beginning of Florida’s dry season, a period that lasts until April. But what does this mean for our local environment, wildlife, and even our gardens? Let’s dive in!


THE DRY SEASON: WHAT IS IT?


In Florida, we experience two primary seasons: the wet season and the dry season. The wet season is characterized by daily afternoon thunderstorms, high humidity, and a general abundance of water. Also, hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30th… which means, we’re not out of the woods, yet!


Come November, the weather takes a turn. The dry season brings lower humidity, less frequent rainfall, and cooler temperatures, especially during the night. This shift is not just a relief for us humans but also has significant impacts on our local ecology.


WILDLIFE WONDERS


One of the most exciting aspects of November is the change in wildlife behavior. During the dry season, you might notice that we are starting to see some of our over-wintering bird species. Later in Fall and into Winter, we start to see American White Pelicans. These dramatic water birds are almost entirely silent! We see them on area lakes and ponds, fishing in large floating flocks. These hunting pelicans are often followed around by a cacophony of fellow water birds like osprey, herons, cormorants, anhinga, and grebes.


UF/IFAS Photo Amy Stuart Amy Stuart

Animals like raccoons and opossums may be more visible as they prepare for the cooler months and enjoy the cooler weather. If you live in an area, or nearby an area, with a lot of Florida black bear activity – be sure to keep an eye out for them in the Fall. Bears enter a period of extreme eating (called hyperphagia, pronounced hy-per-fay-gee-ah) and may be prone to exploring loose garbage cans and overflowing birdfeeders. Be “BearWise” and follow Florida Fish and Wildlife’s best practices: myfwc.com/bears.


If you would like to learn more about preventing wildlife issues, feel free to email me. I’m here to help.


UF/IFAS Photo Tyler Jones Tyler Jones

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