National Wildlife Refuge System

With a flap of its wide wings, a great egret lifts off in the early morning from its tree perch at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.
With a flap of its wide wings, a great egret lifts off in the early morning from its tree perch at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.
Credit: Bill Weinreich/

Wild Angles: News From the National Wildlife Refuge System

News for August 2010

Wild Angles is a reliable source of news about environmental issues, initiatives and events in the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants.

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Hoping to Divert Migratory Birds  If only birds could read, wildlife experts could flash signs at them saying: “New all-you-can-eat buffet. Stop here.” As the fall migratory season begins, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its conservation partners are trying the next best thing. In an extraordinary move, they’re flooding hundreds of acres in Louisiana, east Texas and Mississippi and cultivating additional tons of rice and grains, in hopes of diverting migratory birds from oiled beaches and waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the augmented bird habitat is on National Wildlife Refuges.

Sheldon Refuge to Get Tough on Invaders  How does one exotic invasive species destabilize a sensitive desert habitat, like that of Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Nevada? First, it multiplies, unchecked by predators. Then it tramples native grasses and flowering plants, degrades springs and streams, erodes the soil and shrinks forage and ground cover vital to pronghorn antelope and declining species, such as the sage grouse and other migratory birds. Sheldon Refuge’s proposed solution: removing all wild horses within 5 to 15 years.

Turtle Dogs to the Rescue  Ornate box turtles can be surprisingly hard to spot. That’s a problem for refuge biologists studying the increasingly scarce land creatures, listed last year as threatened in Illinois. Staff at Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge recently found an innovative solution. They hired so-called “turtle dogs,” Boykin spaniels specially trained to find box turtles by scent instead of by sight.

Monarch Madness  The annual butterfly frenzy is still months off, but at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on the Florida Panhandle, the anticipatory phone-calling frenzy has already begun. Callers’ most frequently asked question: When will the butterflies arrive?

Refuges Score with Smithsonian Resident Associates  For the third consecutive year, the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program will feature a visit to a Washington-area refuge for National Wildlife Refuge Week (the second week of October). This year’s visit, on Monday, October 11, is to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Escape the Summer Crowds and Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System  When the beach scene jangles your nerves, try a more contemplative summer retreat: a visit to a national wildlife refuge. Here is a sampling of upcoming refuge events:

Archive of Past Stories

Wild Angles is published monthly by the Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of the Interior.

For information about items in the tip sheet, contact:
Martha Nudel, 703-358-1858
Claire Cassel, 703-358-2357

Last updated: September 23, 2010