Featured Species

Kirtland’s Warbler

Through hard work and collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other organizations and individuals, the Kirtland’s warbler was delisted from endangered species list. However, as a conservation-reliant species, this songbird depends on annual management. Our office works closely with the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team to continue this valuable work managing the jack pine forests and Kirtland’s warbler breeding habitat.

Freshwater mussels

Freshwater mussels are one of the most critically imperiled groups of organisms in the world. Michigan is home to four federally endangered freshwater mussels: Clubshell, Snuffbox, Northern Riffleshell and Rayed Bean. Implementing measures to conserve and restore freshwater mussel populations directly improves water quality in lakes, rivers and streams, throughout Michigan. An adult freshwater mussel filters anywhere from 1 to 38 gallons of water per day. Mussels are also considered to be ecosystem engineers, stabilizing substrate and providing habitat for other aquatic organisms. Taking proactive measures to conserve and restore freshwater mussels will improve water quality, which has the potential to positively impact human health and recreation in the State of Michigan.

Piping Plover

The piping plover is a small, endangered shorebird with a sand-colored back and white below. When first listed as endangered in 1986, only 17 pairs nested in Michigan. The Great Lakes population of piping plovers is now endangered for two main reasons: habitat loss and predation. The beaches that piping plovers require for nesting habitat are also very desirable to humans for development and recreational use. Piping plovers nest only on beaches and prefer beaches with gravel. It is a special opportunity to be able observe the Great Lakes population of piping plovers since there are only between 75 and 80 nesting pairs in the entire Great Lakes area. Due to extensive monitoring and protection efforts from many state, federal, zoo, academic and non-profit partners, piping plovers have expanded their range back into Wisconsin, Illinois, New York and Ontario, Canada.

Bald Eagle

Contaminants specialists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were a vital part of bringing bald eagle populations back after they were nearly eliminated in Michigan and other areas following the introduction of DDT and similar pesticides. Bald eagles now nest in most of the counties in Michigan and are no longer listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Bald eagles are still protected under other laws, however, and our biologists can assist people in understanding when they need to apply for permits if they might be disturbing bald eagles or their nests. Our biologists continue to monitor bald eagle nesting sites and populations, as well as continuing to work on their full recovery, especially in some areas of the state that are still contaminated with legacy pollutants.

a cat facing the camera with black tips on its ears

The lynx is a medium-sized cat with long legs, large, well-furred paws, long tufts on the ears, and a short, black-tipped tail. The winter pelage of the lynx is dense and has a grizzled appearance with grayish-brown mixed with buff or pale brown fur on the back, and grayish-white or buff-white...

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A gray wolf lays in the the snow-covered grass

ESA status: endangered (February 2022) except Northern Rocky Mtn of ID, MT, WY; eastern 1/3 of OR, WA; north-central UT; threatened (Dec 2014) in MN. 

The gray wolf, being a keystone predator, is an integral component of the...

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Cluster of roosting bats.

The Indiana bat is a medium-sized Myotis, closely resembling the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) but differing in coloration. Its fur is a dull grayish chestnut rather than bronze, with the basal portion of the hairs on the back a dull-lead color. This bat's underparts are pinkish to...

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Grey, white and black bird on sand in the foreground

Size: 18 cm (7.25 in) in length. Color: Breeding season: Pale brown above, lighter below; black band across forehead; bill orange with black tip; legs orange; white rump. Male: Complete or incomplete black band encircles the body at the breast. Female: Paler head band; incomplete breast band....

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A group of juvenile and adult red knot forage along the shoreline.

Length: 25-28 cm. Adults in spring: Above finely mottled with grays, black and light ochre, running into stripes on crown; throat, breast and sides of head cinnamon-brown; dark gray line through eye; abdomen and undertail coverts white; uppertail coverts white, barred with black. Adults in...

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Two large white birds with spindly legs and black tips on their wings coming in for a landing in a wetland

The whooping crane occurs only in North America and is North America’s tallest bird, with males approaching 1.5 m (5 ft) when standing erect. The whooping crane adult plumage is snowy white except for black primaries, black or grayish alula (specialized feathers attached to the upper leading end...

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Eastern massasauga rattlesnake

Massasaugas are small snakes with thick bodies, heart-shaped heads and vertical pupils. The average length of an adult is about 2 feet. Adult massasaugas are gray or light brown with large, light-edged chocolate brown blotches on the back and smaller blotches on the sides. The snake's belly is...

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Small butterfly rests on flower stalk with wings open.

The Karner blue butterfly was first described more than a century ago in Karner, New York. It is a small butterfly, with a wingspan of about one inch. The male's wings are distinctively marked with a silvery or dark blue color. The female is grayish brown, especially on the outer portions of the...

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A clubshell mussel in the water

The clubshell is a small to medium size (up to 3 inches long) freshwater mussel that was listed as endangered, without critical habitat, in 1993 (58 FR 5638-5642). Its shell exterior is yellow to brown with bright green blotchy rays and shell interior is typically white. The shell is wedge...

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A group of about ten mussels being held partially out of the water by a pair of cupped hands

The northern riffleshell is a small to medium size (up to 3 inches long) freshwater mussel that was listed as endangered, without critical habitat, in 1993 (58 FR 5638-5642). Its shell exterior is brownish yellow to yellowish green with fine green rays. The shell interior is typically white. The...

The rayed bean is a small mussel, usually less than 1.5 inches (in) (3.8 centimeters (cm)) in length (Cummings and Mayer 1992, p. 142; Parmalee and Bogan 1998, p. 244; West et al. 2000, p. 248). The shell outline is elongate or ovate in males and elliptical in females, and moderately inflated in...
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The snuffbox is a small- to medium-sized mussel, with males reaching up to 2.8 in (7.0 cm) in length (Cummings and Mayer 1992, p. 162; Parmalee and Bogan 1998, p. 108). The maximum length of females is about 1.8 in (4.5 cm) (Parmalee and Bogan 1998, p. 108). The shape of the shell is somewhat...

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This plant is 8 to 40 inches tall and has an upright leafy stem with a flower cluster called an inflorescence. The 3 to 8 inch lance-shaped leaves sheath the stem. Each plant has one single flower spike composed of 5 to 40 white flowers. Each flower has a three-part fringed lip less than 1 inch...
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A bright orange stem, with five leaves and a flower emerging from the leaf-covered forest floor

The small whorled pogonia is a member of the orchid family. The plant is named for the whorl of five or six leaves near the top of the stem and beneath the flower. The species is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

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