Wildlife & Habitat

  • White-tailed Deer

    White-tailed deer in winter - USFWS.

    Currently our deer population is MUCH higher than our target of goal of 20 to 30 deer per square mile. At these extreme densities, deer can over browse the available vegetation and, therefore, degrade habitat for other species. Deer-car collisions and deer browsing ornamental plantings in the adjacent residential areas become more serious problems at high deer densities. Our goal is to maintain the deer population at 20 to 30 deer per square mile and the ratio of antlerless to antlered deer, 3:1.

  • Osprey

    Osprey in nest - Fusco.

    The osprey, sometimes known as a fish eagle or fish hawk, is a common sight along the bay in the spring and summer months (March – September). Their outstretched wings can span over five feet across. Ospreys are very well adapted to catch and eat fish. They can bend their outer toe backwards to help hold slippery fish and have sharp spicules on the bottom of their toes to help hold the fish. Osprey can also close their nostrils when plunging into the water to catch their prey. Their large hooked beak and talons help them eat the fish when it finds a resting place.

  • Upland Habitat

    Sandplain gerardia - Ed Sambolin.

    Upland habitats form about half the area of the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge, including old fields, brush, and woodland habitats. The upland habitats are equally divided between mixed-oak woodland, red maple stands, upland shrub, and grasslands, and includes pine barren habitat. Seatuck Refuge holds the potential to be a transplant site for the federally endangered plant, sandplain gerardia, because of its soil type and associated grassland plants.

  • Saltmarsh

    Salt marsh - Tom Iwanejko.

    The remaining half of Seatuck Refuge is saltmarsh, consisting largely of salt hay with scattered stands of Phragmites, an exotic and invasive plant. Freshwater wetlands and ponds provide a significant water source for wildlife. The bulk of the aquatic habitats include saltmarsh and subtidal types. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Estuary Office has classified the Seatuck Refuge as part of the larger Great South Bay and declared the Refuge a significant coastal habitat.