Seasons of Wildlife

A variety of rich wildlife habitats from uplands to open waters can be found throughout the refuge. With its open coastal water and abundant prey, the refuge plays a significant role as migration and wintering habitat for the federally protected bald eagle. The bay area also provides prime migration habitat for the peregrine falcon. Many state protected species use the refuge including the common loon, pied-billed grebe, osprey, common tern, northern harrier and upland sandpiper. The bay area also serves as New Hampshire's major wintering area for black ducks. Great Bay refuge also manages the Karner blue butterfly easement in Concord, New Hampshire that protects important habitat for this federally endangered species.

  • Spring

    Wild turkey - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    Spring peepers announce the return of warmer weather as myriad shades of green begin to color the trees and shrubs. Flocks of migratory ducks, geese and songbirds drop into the protected waters, fields and forests of the refuge, making this an ideal time for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts to take to the trails.

  • Summer

    White-tailed deer - Greg Thompson/USFWS.

    White-tailed deer and their speckled fawns might be spied in the meadow along Ferry Way Trail. Turkey families strut boldly along the paths, and occasionally down the road. Birders can enjoy dazzling array of summer visitors such as the Baltimore oriole, goldfinch, ruby-throated hummingbird and yellow warbler.

  • Fall

    Fall at Great Bay - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    Nature puts on quite a spectacular fall show for visitors. Various species of trees vie with one another to see which one can create the most stunning colors, a contest which the visitor always wins. The ponds and bay are alive with migratory waterfowl, delighting in a safe resting spot on the trip south for the winter. Beaver and porcupine prepare for the coming winter. A stroll down either trail this time of year dazzles the senses.

  • Winter

    Winter at Great Bay - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    Bald eagles wintering on Great Bay can be seen soaring overhead and black ducks may be observed in patches of open water. Deer and turkey abound and are visible in the undergrowth. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can bring you close to wildlife in the depths of winter.