The mature hardwood forest of Andrews is home to a
variety of birds and mammals. Many native species such as raccoons,
opossums, gray squirrels, bats, screech owls, woodpeckers, and wood
ducks use tree cavities for nesting sites, dens, roosting areas,
and escape cover. Clearings created by the previous landowner favor
edge-preferring species such as white-tailed deer, white-eyed
vireos, and gopher tortoises. The Commission maintains these
clearings as well as scattered roadside openings in a mixture of
permanent grasses and seasonal grains. In the spring, ground
nesting birds such as wild turkey use the clearings for nesting and
brood rearing. You can view and photograph wildlife from two
observation towers on the roadside openings.
The Suwannee River basin is a major route for many
species of migrating birds. Many canopy dwelling birds such as
warblers, vireos, orioles, cuckoos, and titmice inhabit the forest
canopy at different times of the year.
In late summer and early fall, you can hear hickory
nuts and acorns falling throughout the forest. Upland game such as
white-tailed deer, wild turkey, feral hogs, and gray squirrels
benefit from the mast-producing hardwoods found here.
Wildlife Spotlight: Rafinesque's
Rafinesque's Big-eared bat - © J.
This rare bat is distinguished from other, more
common bats found on Andrews by its long ears, which are more than
an inch in length and fall to the center of its back when laid
down. It also has two large, glandular lumps on its nose.
Rafinesque's big-eared bat inhabits forested communities,
especially those associated with floodplains. They begin feeding
well after dark and prefer moths and other soft-bodied insects.
More common north of Florida, Rafinesque's big-eared bat is known
from fewer than a dozen locations in Florida.