Wildlife & Habitat

The refuge abuts the northeastern edge of the ‘Northern Maine Forest’, an expanse of land encompassing millions of acres of forestland in northern Maine. The area is well known for its abundance of boreal bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and rare plant species. Boreal chickadees, spruce grouse, black-backed woodpeckers, blackburnian and bay breasted warblers, hermit thrush and many other migratory songbirds can be seen and heard in the forest of the refuge. Waterfowl, ruffed grouse, American woodcock, northern goshawk and bald eagle are commonly observed. A variety of mammals such as moose, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, beaver, lynx, river otter, mink, ermine and coyote occur on the refuge.

  • Moose

    Moose - USFWS.

    While moose appear gangly and awkward, they are truly a magnificent animal adapted to deep snow conditions and bitter cold. Maine is home to the highest moose population in the lower 48 states and an icon of the Maine Woods.

    Learn more about moose at Aroostook. 

  • Upland Sandpiper

    Upland sandpiper - USFWS.

    Unlike most shorebirds, the upland sandpiper is completely terrestrial, rarely associated with coastal or wetland habitats, an obligate grassland species; as a result, it is often recognized as an indicator of tallgrass prairie health.

    Learn more about upland sandpipers. 

  • Neotropical Migratory Birds

    Bay breasted warbler - USFWS.

    A neotropical migratory bird is a bird that breeds in Canada and the United States during our summer and spends our winter in Mexico, Central America, South America or the Caribbean islands. There are about 200 species of neotropical migratory birds.

    Learn more about neotropical migratory birds at Aroostook. 

  • Spruce / Fir Conifer Forest

    Forest - USFWS.

    The predominant habitat type at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is a sub-boreal spruce/fir hardwood forest. The refuge is situated on low elevation rolling hills that create a mosaic of conifer and deciduous forest types.

    Learn more about the forests occurring on the refuge. 

  • Wetlands

    Wetlands in winter - USFWS.

    Numerous bodies of water can be found throughout Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge (i.e. vernal pools, bogs, emergent wetlands, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes). The refuge is actively working to improve the quality of wetlands that were previously altered by military activities. The refuge is engaged in restoring numerous streams by removing culverts to improve fish passage and improving the quality of stream corridors through soil remediation. Water control structures have been installed to provide waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds places to nest and raise young.

  • Grasslands

    Grasslands - USFWS.

    Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge manages over 300 acres of grasslands. The grasslands provide visitors opportunities to view numerous wildlife species from black bear and moose, to upland sandpiper and northern harrier. Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few remaining locations in northern Maine where upland sandpiper actively nest.