It’s World Oceans Day – a time for people to spotlight the importance of oceans, which connects us all on our blue planet. Located halfway between Hawai‘i and American Samoa, Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is a circular string of about 26 islets nestled among several lagoons and encircled by 15,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs. Palmyra Atoll is one of six refuges in the area that provide a safe haven for millions of birds and marine life that feed, mate and give life to their offspring in the shallow waters nearby.
Learn what we are doing to protect oceans and how you can help.
Photo by Kydd Pollock, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware was established in 1937 as a link in a chain of refuges extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge protects one of the largest remaining tidal salt marshes in the region, which serves as a vital feeding and resting place for migratory birds. Wildlife can be seen year round at Bombay Hook, but spring and fall offer the best opportunity to observe large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds. Photo by Tim Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is a haven for great white herons, migratory birds and other fascinating wildlife. The refuge consists of almost 200,000 acres of open water and scattered islands, and is known in the Keys as the “backcountry.” The refuge provides critical nesting, feeding and resting areas for hundreds of species of birds and sea turtles. The beaches, mangroves and sparkling blue water are favorites for the visitors who explore this beautiful and fragile place. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s National Wildflower Week! Of all the unique and colorful wildflowers on public lands, few are as fascinating as the Cahaba lily. A rare type of spiderlily with striking 3-inch white flowers, the Cahaba lily requires a specialized habitat of swift water flowing over rocks with lots of sunlight. Cahaba lilies bloom from mid-May to mid-June (or Mother’s Day to Father’s Day). The best and largest populations are located at Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. Photo by Keith Boseman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
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.