Keeping the Forest Full of Life
Wildlife have the same basic needs humans do—food, water, shelter, and space. To make sure those needs are met, refuge staff carefully manage forest areas. They remove some trees, plant others that are beneficial to wild life, and battle insect pests. As a result, songbirds, the endangered Delmarva Peninsula for squirrel, and many other kinds of wildlife flourish.
Stopping insects in Their Tracks
It's hard to believe that an insect could fell a forest. But in the 1980s and 1990s, the Southern pine beetle devastated several stands of loblolly pine trees on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. To prevent the beetle's spread, staff removed infected trees and replanted the areas with hardwoods to create new homes for wildlife. Today, wildlife have returned to replanted areas and are thriving.
(Caption: Compare this stand of infested loblolly pine trees before and after replanting. Some dead trees were left standing to provide homes for woodpeckers and other wildlife.)
Ducks and Geese Galore
In the fall and winter, this wetland is transformed into a paradise for waterfowl, and you can compare the eating habits of snow geese and a variety of ducks. Look for them feeding on plants along the edges as well as on the muddy bottom.
Many of These Fall and Winter Visitors Can You Spot?
Snow geese gather at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge by the tens of thousands. During the day, they often feed in nearby farm fields and saltmarshes.
American black ducks dabble for submerged plants. Watch how they tip their bodies to reach the bottom.
Green-winged teals gather along pond edges to munch on soft parts of plants.
Northern shovelers use the teeth-like edges of their spoon-shaped bills to scoop small plants and animals from the water. Look for them swimming in circles to stir up mud.
Northern pintails have distinctive, needle-like tails that make them easy to spot. They glean seeds from the muddy bottom.