Landscape photo of trees and ground covered in snow
Landscape photo of trees and ground covered in snow
Snowy landscape at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. Photo by John Zaker/USFWS

Hibernation season. Soup season. Winter. Whatever you might call it, this is the time of year when you might sit on the edge of your seats with skis or snowshoes in hand ready for the first snowfall of the year. Others might live where winter doesn’t really exist (…we’re looking at you, Florida.) Whether it’s snowshoeing, ice fishing, or hiking, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries are special places to enjoy the winter season.

National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries offer many different winter recreational activities, and they are home to many wildlife…


How Conservation Helps Fill in the Gaps of History

aerial map with white outline of refuge  land and orange rectangle with white tag saying Benn Ross Site
aerial map with white outline of refuge  land and orange rectangle with white tag saying Benn Ross Site
Map of the new Peter’s Neck Unit and where Ben Ross’ land is believed to be.

In October 2020, after years of negotiations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with The Conservation Fund to acquire an additional 2,691 acres of forested wetlands to be added to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The parcel will provide essential habitat for migrating shorebirds, waterfowl, and other native species. Wildlife aren’t the only ones, however, that benefit from the riches of these lands. Beneath the soil there are deep historic roots that may help us piece together previously untold stories.

For years, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has worked alongside the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Harriet Tubman Underground…


woman in red plaid shirt, camo pants and hat, sunglasses on hat holds a duck
woman in red plaid shirt, camo pants and hat, sunglasses on hat holds a duck
Stephanie knew early in her career that she did not want to do anything unless it involved waterfowl. Photo by USFWS

Hi! I’m Stephanie Catino, the Atlantic Flyway Speciator. Yes I know, that sounds like a fictitious title. So what exactly IS a speciator? Good question! When I accepted the job three years ago, I also had no idea what I was getting myself into…

As the speciator, I am responsible for receiving waterfowl parts from all the states along the Atlantic Coast (including Vermont and West Virginia) and determining what species of waterfowl it is from based solely on the wing characteristics. But why are we even getting wings in the mail?

It’s part of our long-term survey, the Parts…


Closeup of albatross head
Closeup of albatross head
This and the other photos in this blog show mōlī (Laysan albatross). More than 70 percent of the world’s nesting population of mōlī resides on Midway Atoll.

Story, Photos and Videos by Eric Kershner

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to stare into the eyes of an albatross? I know I have! I’ve always dreamed about visiting Midway Atoll to see the millions of seabirds that call the island their home. Well that dream came true for me! I was fortunate enough to serve as the acting refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial for two months beginning in mid-November of 2020.

See also: World’s oldest known, banded wild bird hatches chick at Midway Atoll

Now, I’ve studied puffins…


California Edition

a red and black beetle with a red heart emoji over its body.
a red and black beetle with a red heart emoji over its body.
Male Valley elderberry longhorn beetle. Credit: USFWS (modified image)

We’re using the the term “bugs” loosely here. True bugs belong in a family known as Hemiptera while beetles are insects of the Coleapotera family. The main differences lie in their mouth parts and how they grow from egg to adult.

Now that we’ve covered that, did you know the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects over 24 insects in California? Here are four threatened and endangered California crawlies that need some love this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

1. Delta green ground beetle


Check out the previous post in this series:
Recovering Mexican Wolves: Every Wolf Counts
Recovering Mexican Wolves: How Radio Collars Contribute to Conservation
Recovering Mexican Wolves: An Aerial Approach

When word comes in that a Mexican wolf has been darted and tranquilized, ground crews of trained biologists prepare to receive and process the wolf.

Four biologists and veterinarians work on a sedated wolf on a table, taking samples and measurements.
Four biologists and veterinarians work on a sedated wolf on a table, taking samples and measurements.
A Mexican wolf from the 2019 survey is processed on a table inside a work trailer outside Alpine, Arizona. Photo: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team


Check out the previous post in this series:
Recovering Mexican Wolves: Every Wolf Counts
Recovering Mexican Wolves: How Radio Collars Contribute to Conservation

The aerial operation portion of the Mexican wolf count is conducted much like an orchestra — each person has a role to play — all in harmony. Instead of flutists, violinists, trumpeters, and drummers, however, there are pilots, aerial darters, muggers, and veterinarians working together to ensure that everyone (people and wildlife!) stays safe and achieves conservation goals. …


two Mourning doves perched on a tree branch
two Mourning doves perched on a tree branch
A pair of mourning doves strengthen their bond by mutual preening and cooing softly to each other. Doves mate for life and inspired the term ‘lovey dovey’ in the late 1700s. Source: idioms.com. Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS.

Are you a lovebird? You might be if you point, stare, hop, hoot or cartwheel for your sweetheart! Which of nature’s pairs below best reflects your inner cupid? 💘

Bald eagle

Two bald eagles engage in a courtship display. Source: https://gph.is/g/EBrBpAB

The regal bald eagle puts on one of the most spectacular courtship shows. Mated partners lock talons in midflight and then spiral in a free-fall dive known as cartwheeling. Eagles often mate for life, and pairs will return to the same nests year after year. Male bald eagles help with nest construction and raising the eaglets.

Sandhill crane


A wolf track in dried mud
A wolf track in dried mud
Tracks, like this Mexican wolf paw print, help biologists track wolves during annual ground surveys. Photo: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

Check out the previous post in this series:
Recovering Mexican Wolves: Every Wolf Counts

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual Mexican wolf count starts in earnest every fall. Beginning in October, Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (Interagency Field Team) staff conduct ground counts across Arizona and New Mexico. During this time, wolves are documented by driving on roads and hiking canyons, trails, or other areas closed to motor vehicles. Biologists use GPS locations and radio signals from collared wolves to find the wolf packs and obtain visual observations. …


10 tips to capture scenes of the season on public lands

Steam rises off a frosted river and catches the low-angled sun, glowing up into gold, pink, and purple reflections on the ice. Wind lifts drifting snow into glittering columns, and hoar frost spikes around bare branches.

Have you taken your camera out for a walk yet this season?

On a clear, cold morning, ice crystals in the air form a “sundog” halo on the horizon. Bald eagles, waxwings, and bluebirds gather around their winter feasts, and river otters frolic in and out of their patch of open water.

bluebird with berry in beak
bluebird with berry in beak
A bluebird with juniper berry. Photo by Peter Pearsall/USFWS.

Winter photography may bring a few extra challenges, but the creative rewards…

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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