LRAS Projects
Wintering Sparrow
Habitat Project
Polk County Butterfly Census
Christmas Bird Count
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Scrub Jay Watch

Wintering Sparrow Habitat Project

Brief Description of Project:

Wintering sparrow populations in Central Florida increased sharply in the 1980s and 1990s following severe freezes that provided favorable habitat in abandoned groves.  As those groves have been converted to residential development and agricultural uses, populations have declined to low levels.  There is a need to develop more favorable habitat on public lands which will provide more permanent situations for wintering sparrows in Central Florida. In order to better attract more wintering sparrows to Polk County, we will enhance the food supply on two 5 acre plots provided by the Tenoroc Fish Management Area near Lakeland as well as making physical improvements to provide more favorable habitat.  We plan on establishing numerous brush piles which sparrows normally utilize for cover as well as planting millet seed, beautyberry, and other appropriate native plants throughout the area. This has never been done before at Tenoroc or anywhere in Polk County for the benefit of wintering sparrows. We are cooperating with both the Tenoroc Fish Management Area who are providing the land and gave permission to use the study plots as well as the University of Florida that provided equipment and man power for the initial disking of some of the area.

Items/Activities to be accomplished in Project:

Enhance and improve upland grassland habitat on the Bridgewater addition to the Tenoroc Fish Management Area to provide cover and forage for up to seven species of North American sparrows. That would include savannah, chipping, white-crowned, vesper, swamp, clay-colored, and grasshopper sparrow. Our goal is to increase the number of sparrows on the plots from one or two species with low numbers which we found before the study to at least several dozen individuals and to provide more diverse habitat to attract other species. Any success on our study plots can be imitated on a greater scale throughout Central Florida. Although the primary benefactor will be the sparrow populations, many birders and other nature lovers will benefit from our project.

To volunteer or learn more about this project contact: Charles Geanangel at:

Click here to review the project log.

Charles Geanangel and Pete Timmer

Signs were made to mark each of the plots.
Brush pile ready for the visiting sparrows.
Brush pile ready for the visiting sparrows.

115 Lameraux Road ∙ Winter Haven, Florida 33884 (863) 259-8497