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Wildlife & Habitat

  • Birds

    Osprey - Ron Holmes/USFWS.

    The refuge protects a variety of habitats for birds in the highly urbanized landscape of greater Philadelphia. It has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. While most of the 300 plus avian species identified at the refuge utilize it as a migratory stopover, more than 80 species have been recorded nesting on the refuge over the years. Several species are also state listed as either threatened or endangered species or species of state or national management concern.

    Learn more about birds on the refuge. 

  • Mammals

    Young raccoon - Bill Buchanan/USFWS.

    John Heinz NWR is 1 of 44 Important Mammal Areas designated by the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation. The designation was awarded noting the refuge as supporting northern river otter use on occasion and being the last potential location for the marsh rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) in the State.

    While no formal inventories have been conducted to date, numerous mammals are known to inhabit the refuge.

    Learn more about mammals on the refuge. 

  • Reptiles & Amphibians

    Snapping turtle - Gary Stolz.

    While no formal inventories have been conducted, there are eight turtle, three snake, and eight frog and toad species known to inhabit the refuge.

    Learn more about reptiles and amphibians at John Heinz refuge. 

  • Freshwater Tidal Marsh

    Freshwater tidal marsh - Bill Buchanan/USFWS.

    John Heinz NWR protects the largest remnant of freshwater tidal marsh, roughly 285 acres (one-third square mile) that remains in this part of the State. A marsh is a type of wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species.

    Learn more about freshwater tidal marshes and their importance to wildlife. 

  • Darby Creek

    Darby Creek - USFWS.

    The tidal portion of Darby Creek and its side channels flows through the refuge and tidal marsh. Streams are important corridors for fish and wildlife migration.

    Learn more about Darby Creek. 

  • Impoundment & Nontidal Open Waters

    Refuge boardwalk and impoundment - Ron Holmes.

    The refuge contains several small open water features and a managed impoundment. The 145-acre impoundment and nearby nontidal open water habitats of the refuge provide stopover habitat for a variety of waterbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds.

    Learn more about our impoundments and nontidal open waters. 

Page Photo Credits — Osprey - Ron Holmes/USFWS., Young raccoon - Bill Buchanan/USFWS., Snapping turtle - Gary Stolz., Freshwater tidal marsh - Bill Buchanan/USFWS., Darby Creek - USFWS., Refuge boardwalk and impoundment - Ron Holmes.
Last Updated: Jul 01, 2013
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