May Calendar of Wildlife & Habitat Happenings

Eastern box turtle
North Carolina's state reptile — the Eastern box turtle — begins nesting in late May.

May Calendar

Opportunities to experience natural North Carolina are as diverse as our state’s spectacular landscape. And there’s no shortage of things to do, see and hear this month – from blooming spider lilies to nesting turtles to emerging moths. Take a look at the May calendar below and explore NCWF’s upcoming events.

May 1: It’s National Photography Month and the first day of our 4th Annual Wildlife Photography Contest. Open to professional and amateur photographers.

May 2-7: National Wildflower Week. NCWF’s custom Butterfly Highway seed packets include seeds for up to seven native plants that support pollinators and other wildlife.

May 3: Eastern bluestar, blue false indigo, green and gold and dwarf crested iris are blooming. 

May 4: National Bird Day.

May 7: National Play Outside Day. National Start Seeing Monarchs Day. End of spring wild turkey season.

May 10: National Shrimp Day.

May 12: Virginia spiderwort is in bloom.

May 14: World Migratory Bird Day. National Archery Day.

May 16: National Love a Tree Day—the perfect day to plant a native one! Passion vine, Eastern prickly pear and goat’s-rue are in bloom. Longnose gar are spawning. Pine-devil moths are flying. Common nighthawks are nesting.

May 17: Our smallest native reptile, the ground skink, is nesting. Unlike our other four skinks, this species does not attend to its eggs during incubation.

May 18: Least terns are nesting, mostly on our more remote beaches and barrier islands.

May 19: Diamondback terrapins, the world’s only uniquely estuarine turtles, are nesting in our salt marshes. Southern beardtongue and Small’s ragwort are blooming.

May 20: American alligators have begun mating. Sweetbay magnolia is in bloom. Endangered Species Day. World Bee Day.

May 21: Grassleaf roseling, tread-softly, sandhills dawn flower and Pickering’s dawn flower are in bloom in the Sandhills.

May 22: Snakemouth orchid, white colic-root, fly poison and yucca are in bloom in the Coastal Plain. International Biodiversity Day.

May 23: World Turtle Day—a day for celebrating North Carolina’s 21 native species. Purple pitcher plants are in bloom.

May 24: Spider lilies are in bloom in the Coastal Plain. National Scavenger Hunt Day.

May 25: Coal skinks are nesting in the Mountains and Foothills. Like most of our more familiar skinks, these uncommon and poorly known lizards attend their eggs during incubation.

May 26: Loggerhead sea turtles have begun nesting. Coral hairstreak butterflies are flying. 

May 27: Common mullein and queen’s-delight are in bloom. Breeding is well underway for most treefrog species. Fragrant white water lily is in bloom.

May 28: Snapping turtles are nesting. Larvae of our official state salamander—the marbled salamander—are transforming; juveniles disperse from ephemeral wetlands into terrestrial habitats on rainy nights.

May 29: National Learn About Composting Day. Cecropia moths are emerging and mating. This single-brooded species is our largest moth.

May 30: Wild turkey and ruffed grouse eggs are hatching. Littleleaf sensitive-briar is blooming. National Water a Flower Day.

May 31: Our state reptile—the Eastern box turtle—has begun nesting. Some females may nest more than once during a season. Several dusky salamander species are also nesting. Mountain laurel is in bloom.

Explore NCWF events calendar.

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