The most popular type of wildlife at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is birds. Songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, wading birds, waterfowl - each change of season brings a change in what species you will see at the refuge. The rich mixture of forests, tallgrass prairie, riverine bottomland hardwoods, and wetland habitats support thousands of migratory birds, particularly neotropical songbirds. Spring and fall shorebird migrations bring thousands of birds to the lakeshore to rest and refuel for their long journey.
Refuge wildlife can be seen in all different habitat types. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bobcats, coyotes, and fox squirrels are often found in both wooded areas and fields. River otters remain near water where they create dens and find plenty of fish to eat. Beavers are notorious for creating dams made of sticks and logs to flood areas. Rabbits live in grassy fields with some type of brush cover near-by for protection. Less commonly seen wildlife includes bats, mink, weasel, and gray or red fox.
POLLINATORS AT HAGERMAN NWR
What is a Pollinator??? A pollinator is an animal that moves pollen. Flowers must be “pollinated” before they can reproduce. Pollination is the transfer of pollen by animals, wind, or other means. It occurs when pollen (produced in the plant’s male part called a stamen), is exposed to the pistil found within the female’s reproductive part. Once pollination takes place, seeds begin to develop. Without pollination, most plants could not produce fruit or set seeds. Animals at Hagerman NWR that are known to be good pollinators include native bees, butterflies, ruby-throated hummingbirds, moths, beetles, and some flies and wasps.
Pollinators are vital to the survival of many plants. They pollinate over 75% of flowering plants and nearly 75% of crops around the world. We may not often notice the hummingbirds, bats, bees, beetles, butterflies, and flies that carry pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar. Yet without them, wildlife would have fewer nutritious berries and seeds, and we would miss many fruits, vegetables, and nuts, like blueberries, squash, and almonds . . . not to mention chocolate and coffee…all of which depend on pollinators.
Dragonflies, butterflies, and hundreds of other insects are found at the refuge spring through late fall. Monarch butterflies funnel through Texas both in the fall and the spring. Texas is an important state in monarch migration because it is situated between the principal breeding grounds in the north and the overwintering areas in Mexico. Monarchs normally fly through Texas starting the last days of September and by the third week of October, most have passed through into Mexico.
The main threats facing pollinators are habitat loss and pesticides. As native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites necessary for their survival. What can you do to help these important animals? Plant a native plant garden for them! And, reduce the use of pesticides at your home by using the minimum amount and only when absolutely necessary. It is also important to target your application so that only the intended pest is affected. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/Index.html
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