Providing Habitat for Waterfowl and Other Birds

recent survey recorded over 200,000 ducks, geese and swans on Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. This represents a trend of increasing wintering waterfowl numbers on the Refuge over the past few years.

Over 100,000 tundra swan, Canada geese, snow geese, and 18 species of ducks overwinter on the refuge annually. Mattamuskeet Refuge’s position along the Atlantic Flyway makes it a prime location for wintering waterfowl. Habitats used by wintering waterfowl on the refuge consist of freshwater marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation. Wintering waterfowl consume wetland plant seeds, roots, and tubers as well as aquatic insects and small fish to meet their energetic demands (e.g. migration and maintenance). A variety of wetlands on Mattamuskeet Refuge (e.g. shallow marsh, flooded timber, and the lake) provide a combination of habitats that enable wintering waterfowl to meet their nutritional requirements.

The lake, marsh, and woodlands provide habitat for over 240 bird species. Ospreys nest in low cypress trees near the edge of the lake. Hundreds of migratory shorebirds find resting and feeding spots along the edge of the lake and throughout the marsh impoundments. Migrating warblers are popular subjects for bird watchers in the spring and fall.