The rolling plains and scattered wetlands of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge in Montana were created by receding glaciers more than 12,000 years ago. Today, these lands and waters serve as habitat for a great variety of wildlife, especially migrating waterfowl. Depending on the season, the sky can hold a lone eagle, fill with waves of tundra swans or show dramatic sunset colors. Photo by Christal Steele (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Forested hills slope down to the banks of the mighty Mississippi River at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. The yellow leaves of maple trees are catching the sunlight, providing a lovely and soothing atmosphere for hikers, anglers, kayakers and photographers. Other autumn visitors include thousands of migrating birds pausing at the refuge as they make their way south. Photo by Jessica Bolser, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Happy Halloween! Let’s celebrate with this scary cute baby arctic fox at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Arctic foxes are found in two color phases: white and blue. White-phase foxes appear brown in the summer and pure white in winter. Blue-phase foxes appear gray in the summer and a lighter gray in the winter. Blue-phase foxes are uncommon, so this photo is a rare treat. Photo by Ryan Mong, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Just because we rarely feature national fish hatcheries doesn’t mean they’re not important. Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in Washington produces millions of upriver bright and Chinook salmon that are a vital part of the environment and economy of the area. Visitors to the hatchery can learn all about its operations and history, as well as try to catch their own fish in Drano Lake (be sure to follow state regulations). Challenging whitewater for expert kayakers is another available thrill. If that’s too much excitement for you, just relax by the clear waters and enjoy a beautiful fall day. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Pelican Islands National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. While it was created to protect the habitat of migratory and resident birds, the refuge’s land and waters are also home to other interesting animals, including the North American river otter. Able to live in both fresh and saltwater, the river otter is a clever, adorable and sometimes dangerous animal. Is this one angling for a belly rub (which you should never do) or thinking about its next meal? Photo by Keenan Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Visiting Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming can be such a delight: walking the paths, listening to the birds and keeping your eyes open for whatever might appear around the next bend in the trail. It could be a sandhill crane dance party, elk splashing across streams or maybe even a supremely confident badger with wits as sharp as its claws. National Wildlife Refuges are full of inspiration. Photo by Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to remind everyone that refuges are some of the best places for birdwatching. One of the most thrilling birds to spot is the bald eagle. A majestic symbol of our nation, bald eagles are found in every state except Hawaii. Males and females work together to build large nests, and you’ll often see them hunting over open fields and water. This one just left its perch at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Photo by Curtis Gibbens (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Let’s keep the fun of National Wildlife Refuge Week going with this awesome elk at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. During the fall rut, bull elk bellow out a series of grunts and whistles called a bugle. It’s a call to combat. In the mating season, challengers bugle to dominant elks, announcing a duel for the right to mate. This is just one of the many terrific sight and sounds you’ll find when you explore the outdoors. Photo by Somesh Nagthan (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s National Wildlife Refuge Week! From Patuxent Research Refuge on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge (seen here) on an Alaska island, refuges are the perfect places for people to connect to the outdoors and appreciate wildlife. Clever and cute, these foxes are just an example of some of the amazing things you might see when you visit a refuge. See more: https://on.doi.gov/2P6CcZw Photo by Josh Blouin (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors. Urban wildlife refuges provide an easy escape to nature for millions of Americans every year. Within view of Denver’s skyscrapers, visitors to Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge can see bison, bald eagles, snow geese and sunsets. It’s just one of many resources for city dwellers. Find more: www.fws.gov/urban/wildlifeRefuges.php Sunset photo by Dave Showalter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.