A maze of meandering bayous and rippling marshes, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana occupies over 125,000 acres of waters and wetlands. Providing habitat for an impressive variety of birds, the refuge is also a vibrant nursery to shrimp, blue crab and numerous fish species. Boardwalks and hiking paths allow visitors to explore the area. On sunny days, it’s common to see alligators resting by the water. Photo by Colleen Stringer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The calendar says it’s spring, but it still looks like winter at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. The snow and fog glow in the purple gloom on this April morning. Despite the chill, the wetlands, forests and prairies of the refuge are great places to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Listen for their calls in the morning. Photo by Mitchell Baalman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A group of river otters is called a romp. Commonly found in the South, Great Lakes region and in the Pacific Northwest, this romp was spotted hanging out at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. While they engage in playful behavior with each other, they are deadly hunters and can be dangerous when their territory is invaded. Please enjoy watching them from a distance. Photo by James Perdue, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, @usfwsmtnprairie.
Don’t call it a bunny. This is a black-tailed jackrabbit at Hopper Mountain and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuges in California. Common across the western U.S., they’re known for their short black tails, powerful back legs and really long ears. This one does not look amused at your April Fools prank. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s Manatee Appreciation Day! These gentle giants can grow to over 14 feet in length and weigh over 3,000 pounds. Also, known as “sea cows,” manatees feed on seagrasses and other aquatic plants. Today, the total population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. When aerial surveys began in 1991, there were only an estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida. Check out more fun facts about manatees: https://on.doi.gov/2fpJzxv Photo from Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On foggy mornings, an eerie calm falls over Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The water is still and the air is thick. With 48,000 acres of forests, fields and waters, the refuge is excellent habitat for eagles, alligators and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge also serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This is so cute! With grasslands, forests, tidal salt marshes and freshwater ponds, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware provides excellent habitat for a terrific variety of animals. Some live here year round while others stop by as they make their way along the Atlantic Flyway. This time of year, visitors can see eagles, hawks, ducks, geese and litters of cute baby foxes. Photo of two red fox kits taken last week by Jennifer Cross, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Did you know that there are five national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island? Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge features rocky shorelines, sandy beaches and a large salt marsh that provide habitat to amazing birds like the piping plover. In the winter, visitors can walk or cross-country ski on the refuge trails and enjoy sunrises and sunsets over the water. Photo by Chris Hunter (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Today marks the 115th anniversary of the creation of the first national wildlife refuge at Pelican Island in Florida and the birth of the national wildlife refuge system. From Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge on the Atlantic to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific, over 550 wildlife refuges – many of them close to urban centers – protect an incredible array of wildlife and landscapes. Find a refuge near you. Photo of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia by Heather Bautista (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Delicate frost clings to a solitary tree at J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. These little details are easy to miss when visitors are busy bird watching, hiking or ice fishing. Extending from the Canadian border for 45 miles, it’s the largest wildlife refuge in the state and one of the nation’s premier birding locations. Photo by Colette Guariglia, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.