Wildlife and Habitat

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The wilderness islands of San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge provide a serene haven to a large population of the birds of the Salish Sea. Most of the Refuge consists of rocky islands with an occasional pocket beach, stand of trees, or patch of grass. Despite the barren appearance, many birds flock to these island shelters, preferring the isolation from predators and human activities. A handful of the islands support small communities of rare plants that cannot survive amongst the hubbub of the human population. Marine mammals, such as harbor seals, can frequently be seen bobbing offshore or resting at the water's edge

  • Birds

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    The Refuge islands support boisterous populations of birds.  Black oystercatchers scold from the water's edge while bald eagles circle above.

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  • Mammals

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    The Refuge provides important habitat for both land and marine mammals.

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  • Habitat


    Healthy habitats are critical to supporting wildlife populations.  For many animals in the region the refuge islands are the only place where they can find an environment undisturbed by humans.

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