On national wildlife refuges, wildlife comes first. The Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex was established to protect and enhance migratory bird populations, threatened and endangered species and anadromous and catadromous fish. Over 300 species of birds, 35 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles & amphibians, 100 species of fish and more than 500 species of plants benefit from our efforts to protect and enhance habitat for fish, wildlife and plants on Long Island, New York!
Long Island Refuge Complex protects habitat from the Atlantic Flyway to Pine Barren Forests
Migration Stopover & Wintering Grounds
The Atlantic Flyway is a “corridor” that birds follow from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere during migration. The Long Island refuges are strategically located along this “corridor” where they provide stopover, breeding and wintering habitat for a variety of migratory birds.
During migration, shorebirds and waterfowl use the complex for resting and feeding. Tidal wetlands support wintering waterfowl, particularly American black duck and Atlantic brant, as well as, landbirds such as nesting osprey and northern harrier. Wading birds and shorebirds forage on wetland tidal flats and marshes for fish and invertebrates.
Bays & Beaches
Several of the Long Island refuges have beaches and bays. Beaches are becoming increasingly important for threatened and endangered species like piping plover and roseate terns. Sea and bay ducks, osprey, sea turtles, terns and harbor seals also use the beaches and adjacent bays for nesting, resting, and feeding.
Long Island Pine Barrens
Pitch pine trees distinguish pine barren habitats from other North American forest types. Pitch pine is a fire-dependent species and requires fire to become established and survive. Pitch pine and oaks form the overstory, while the understory serves wildlife with fruits from blueberry and huckleberry. Pine barrens and other forest types contained within the Complex support breeding migratory songbirds including warblers, vireos, wrens and flycatchers. Owls and other raptors also use the forests and openings to nest and hunt throughout the year.