There are two types of people: people who enjoy winter … and everyone else.

For cold weather enthusiasts, winter comes as a welcome diversion from the daily grind and gives us a chance to test the limits of our bodies to achieve peak performance.

Barney Bear expertly skis while reading. Source:

For everyone else, this time of year is synonymous with staying inside and enjoying the winter from within the warm confines of our homes, complete with hot cocoa, cozy blankets, and binge-watching TV.

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) waves out the window in Home Alone. Source:

Whether you love winter or hate it, we can all agree on one thing: to withstand the cold days and long nights, one must be resilient and maybe a little crazy. This is even more so for the animals, insects, and plants that don’t have the luxury of escaping into a warm house when the freeze starts to bite a little too hard. …

close-up of a bald eagle head
close-up of a bald eagle head
Close-up of bald eagle by Rich Keen

North America is home to two species of eagles: bald and golden eagles. Observing either species in the wild provides people a connection to a national conservation legacy that is ingrained into the fabric of our nation. You can spot bald and golden eagles at National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries across the United States, but it can be tricky to identify them.

When fully mature, each species has defining characteristics that are hard to miss.

Bald eagles are adorned with a radiant white head and tail, and a dark brown body. …

How to Photograph Starry Skies and Northern Lights

Wavy bands of green and purple light up the night sky of stars over a horizon of trees.
Wavy bands of green and purple light up the night sky of stars over a horizon of trees.
Bands of green and purple light up the night sky of stars over Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Photo by Keith Ramos/USFWS.

Dear night owls:
This one is for you.

Winter nights can be long, dark … and perfect for photography. Join us for some starry sky views, a virtual thermos of hot chocolate, and tips from two nocturnal shutter bugs.

Astrophotography 101

“For most of us, the world at night is a foreign place,” writes photographer Peter Pearsall. “When we venture from the lights and clamor of our cities and immerse ourselves in the nocturnal landscape, we are transported into the unexpected.”

Take a night sky tour with Peter, and plan your next star-filled adventure:

Pacific black brant migration and what they can teach us

rainbow arches over golden tundra
rainbow arches over golden tundra
A rainbow graces rolling tundra at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Cold Bay, Alaska. Photo by Rebecca Fabbri/USFWS

Imagine being able to see the world population of a particular species all in one place. For those yearning for that type of experience, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Cold Bay, Alaska, is the go-to destination. At 310,000 acres, Alaska’s smallest national wildlife refuge hosts the global population of Pacific black brant, a subspecies of brant geese, during a portion of the year.

The leaves are passing peak, and the nights are getting colder, but there’s still plenty of autumn activities to enjoy at a national fish hatchery.

A cloudy blue sky and trees with yellow leaves are reflected in calm waters.
A cloudy blue sky and trees with yellow leaves are reflected in calm waters.
A calm fall day at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery. Photo by Sam Stukel/USFWS.

Here are five ways you can get out and enjoy a national fish hatchery near you!

1. Take a hike in the crisp fall air.

Leadville Nation Fish Hatchery — Leadville, Colorado

During the summer evenings, lucky observers can witness a bat flying acrobatically as it forages on pesky insects. But as leaves start to change on the trees and days grow shorter with more rain in the Pacific Northwest, fewer and fewer bats are seen. So where do these nighttime critters go in the winter? That is a question biologists in the Pacific Northwest are trying to answer. There are at least 16 bat species in the Pacific Northwest, all of which have their own strategies for surviving the winter months.

closeup of bat face
closeup of bat face
Hoary bat. Photo by Daniel Neal/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Some bat species will migrate long distances in the fall to warmer climates where insects are more plentiful. In the Pacific Northwest, the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) is known for its long-distance travels; in one study this species was found to fly more than 1,000 km during its migration. Not much is known on the migratory behavior of these bats such as where they end up spending their winters, but we do know that their migration path crosses into areas where wind energy is being developed. Across the country, hoary bats have been found dead at wind energy facilities. Luckily, many researchers are working with the wind energy industry to find ways to eliminate or reduce the number of deaths of these migratory bats. …

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Image for post
Desert National Wildlife Refuge near Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by J. Contois/USFWS.

Nevada is famous for its casinos and nightlife, but not necessarily for its striking geography and biodiversity (and it should be, to be honest).

Here are 10 things you didn’t know about plants, wildlife and their habitats in the Silver State.

10. Mountains.

A bat hangs upside down and looks into the camera
A bat hangs upside down and looks into the camera
Mariana fruit bat. Photo by Anne Brooke/USFWS

Halloween, for many people, means it’s time for all things spooky, creepy and scary (although, some of us find excuses to celebrate those things all year). While Halloween legends may have us thinking about the holiday’s horror heavyweights like werewolves, vampires and bats (oh my!), bats are actually responsible for some of the highlights of the season, like pumpkin spice and witches brew.

Content warning for arachnophobes: This story contains images of spiders! If you fear spiders, you might not want to continue reading. Enter if you dare!

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Tarantula by National Park Service

It’s fall in colorful Colorado. At dusk, the moon will soon replace the sun. You are taking a stroll outside in the crisp, cool air when something large, brown and hairy with eight long legs scuttles across the street. Would you be scared?

You shouldn’t be! It’s just a male Oklahoma brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) (aka Texas or Missouri brown tarantula), out looking for love. You are witnessing the epic journey thousands of male tarantulas make every year. …


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We’re dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.

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