Winter has Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in its icy grip. For countless generations, the Upper Tanana Valley of Alaska has served as a natural travel corridor – for wildlife, native people and explorers. Despite the blanket of snow, many animals live here year round – including the Great Grey Owl, which preys on small rodents. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wooo! This bald eagle at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois is cheering on America in the Winter Olympics. You can easily spot the massive nests of eagles in the bare trees during winter at the refuge. They also make their presence known with daring dives, wide wing spans and screaming calls. We’re glad they’re on our team. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Along the lower reaches of the Columbia River in Washington, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge preserves unique habitat for wintering birds and other fascinating wildlife. Quiet and attentive visitors may be treated to the sight of a long tailed weasel running across a trail or a group of river otters playing in the water. Look out over distant fields and you might see a coyote hunting for rodents or a white tailed deer grazing watchfully. The refuge is a place where people can share a bond with nature, and each other, by passing on outdoor traditions to new generations. Sunset photo by Donna Torres (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Does this look like your normal morning meeting? It seems like these Steller sea lions at the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex have a lot to talk about. Maybe they’re discussing the quality of the fish they’re hunting or the immense size (11 feet long and 2,500 pounds) of the largest males. Each one seems to have an opinion. Which Steller sea lion are you? Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The craggy arms of a large, red mangrove stretch out to greet the morning sun at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Rising above the water line on aerial prop roots and thriving on tropical coastlines, mangroves provide shelter for plants and animals. They’re just one of the many interesting sights you’ll see near the continental United States’s southernmost point. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Interior employees are happy to be back at work, welcoming visitors to America’s public lands like Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. A half inch of rain two weeks ago brought relief and a rainbow to this wildlife refuge in southwest Arizona. Running down the Kofa Mountains and spreading across the Sonoran Desert, the water was quickly sucked up by towering saguaro cacti, spiky prickly pears and rare fan palm trees. The refuge was established in 1939 following a campaign of local Boy Scouts hoping to preserve habitat for desert bighorn sheep. Their dream really did come true. Photo by Tom Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.
A purple and pink winter sunrise paints the sky at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. It’s a scene Charles M. Russell would have enjoyed. The refuge was named in recognition of this colorful western artist who often portrayed the refuge’s landscape in his paintings. Along with the stunning scenery and amazing wildlife, the refuge boasts a fantastic history that includes mountain men, Native Americans and dinosaurs. Photo by Mary Jo Hill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Fresh snow blankets the floodplain forests at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Established for the protection of migratory birds along the Mississippi River Flyway, the refuge occupies over 8,300 acres across four unique districts. Some of the most recognizable winter residents are wild turkeys, northern cardinals, great horned owls and bald eagles. Watch out for their color and movement in this winter wonderland. Photo by Cathy Nigg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
You won’t see much snow at Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California, but you can see a whole lot of snow geese. The refuge’s wetlands attract large numbers of migratory birds throughout the winter. Living in large groups, they watch out for each other as they forage for stems, grains and berries. Sunset photo by Joanne Freemire (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Two immature bald eagles battle it out in the skies above Llano Seco, which is part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California. Aggressive hunters and scavengers, these young eagles are fighting over a duck clutched in their talons. What an incredible sight! What’s your favorite eagle sighting? Photo courtesy of Steve McDonald.