The mighty Mississippi River flows past Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin early in its 2,300 mile voyage to the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall, migrating birds and monarch butterflies likewise travel south, looking for food and warmer temperatures. Other wildlife remain, keeping the refuge active through winter. As the leaves fall, it’s easier to spot eagles in trees, rabbits bounding through fields, foxes chasing mice and river otters playing on the banks of the river. Photo by Michael Boerger (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Watch out! A baby horned lizard found at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge in California may be tiny and cute, but it has a secret weapon. When threatened, they intimidate attackers by squirting blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism. It’s not only confusing to predators, but it can also taste terrible. That’s just one thing you won’t be able to forget this National Reptile Awareness Day. Photo courtesy of John Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Have you ever been to Alaska? Officially transferred from Russia to the United States on this day in 1867, Alaska is a vast land of epic natural beauty, incredible human history and some of the best wildlife viewing on Earth. Brown bears swipe salmon from pristine rivers, huge herds of caribou roam across the tundra and cute sea otters float together off endless stretches of gorgeous coastline. Some of the best places to enjoy Alaska are on public lands, like Alaska Peninsula and Becharof National Wildlife Refuges. They’re otterly fun! Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The end of the day provokes purple skies and tranquil waters at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. This brackish tidal marsh is a vital waterfowl sanctuary. It was created to support birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway, and does that and so much more. All week long we’ve been celebrating the varied and critical roles of national wildlife refuges and Blackwater is no different. The tidal marsh buffers storm waters, slows erosion and absorbs pollutants before they reach the bay. Photo courtesy of Youchun Yao.
In the fall, the leaf display in the northern woods of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine is simply breathtaking. The forest is made up of maple, aspen, birch, spruce and fir trees. The refuge is named for Moosehorn stream, a waterway within its boundaries. Black bears are often spotted foraging under apple trees in the fall. White-tailed deer and moose feed in the clearings. Coyotes, snowshoe hares, beaver and river otters may be seen when you explore some of the 50 miles of available trails. Photo by Keith Ramos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A bison roams the golden grasses at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, one of our largest urban wildlife refuges. Only about 20 minutes from the Denver airport, take the 11-mile Wildlife Drive and keep your eyes peeled for bison, mule and white-tailed deer, hawks and waterfowl. Near the visitor center, you can learn more about the refuge’s population of endangered black-footed ferrets and the current conservation work. Whether you’re passing through Colorado or you call this place home, the refuge is yours to explore. Photo by Ian Shive, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
One of the best things about getting outdoors is seeing wildlife. We can admire their uniqueness and imagine their lives. How high can a bluebird fly? Do deer get sad in the rain? What do alligators eat? How nervous is that turtle right now? These are the questions we ask ourselves on World Animal Day. Discover more fascinating wildlife stories at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Mickey Foster, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.
Fall is a wonderful time of year. It’s the season for crisp mornings, colorful leaves, football and pumpkin spice everything. Autumn also reminds us of school pictures. You’d dress up nice, line up with your class, strike a thoughtful pose and try not to look goofy in front of a random background. This young fox at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska knows what we’re talking about. Photo by Kristine Sowl, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Reflect on this. From an estimated population of almost 60 million animals roaming throughout North America, bison reached a low of 100 in the wild in the late 1800s. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, the National Bison Range in Montana has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals. Mostly rolling grasslands, the range is framed by mountain ranges and spotted with wildlife including elk, deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep as well as coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, over 200 species of birds and of course, majestic bison. Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The beauty of the desert is haunting. In imagination and myth, it is an empty environment, devoid of life and mercy. A visit to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge proves those assumptions wrong. Kofa is the second-largest wilderness area in Arizona and home to a startling variety of plants and animals. Gila monsters, desert bighorn sheep, golden eagles and foxes find food and shelter in misty mountains and cacti-covered plains. Indeed it is a place of surprise and wonder. Photo courtesy of Andrew R. Slaton.