Wildlife & Habitat

tower in the fall

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is a unique, urban oasis where both people and wildlife can find their space outdoors. It is notably home to the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, known as Tinicum Marsh.

  • Birds


    The refuge has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. It’s diverse habitats provide a sanctuary for birds in Greater Philadelphia. Over 300 different species have been recorded here, with 90 species known to nest on the refuge.

    Learn more about birds on the refuge

  • Mammals


    Surrounded by residential and industrial areas, the refuge is a prime habitat for wildlife. The refuge provides a home for a wide variety of mammals, ranging from the White-tailed Deer to the White-footed Mouse. Though many are nocturnal, or active at night, observant visitors can spot the evidence they leave behind. 

    Learn more about mammals on the refuge

  • Reptiles & Amphibians

    Snapping turtle - Gary Stolz.

    Many species of turtles, frogs, and toads live in the refuge’s wetland habitats. There they find ample food including fish, insects, and invertebrates. Non-venomous snakes can also be found on the refuge. Each of these reptiles play an important role in the ecosystem.

    Learn more about reptiles and amphibians on the refuge

  • Refuge Habitats

    Freshwater tidal marsh - Bill Buchanan/USFWS.

    John Heinz NWR protects 993 acres of land and water across Southwest Philadelphia and Delaware County. The refuge’s habitats are comprised of freshwater tidal marsh, emergent wetland, Darby Creek, forest, and field. John Heinz is important habitat for breeding species, migratory birds, other native wildlife, and people too! The refuge provides humans with flood protection, pollution filtration, and a safe place to enjoy nature.  

    Learn more about refuge habitats