Wildlife & Habitat

Black-eyed Susan with a White Birch Tree

This beautiful photo of a paper birch and a black-eyed Susan were submitted to the Plants Category of the Photo Contest by Mary Taylor.

  • Common Loon

    Common Loon with Two Chicks

    Approximately 17 pairs of common loons nest on the impoundments at Seney National Wildlife Refuge each summer. The refuge provides great open water habitat with little human disturbance for these fish eating birds. Males begin arriving late March - early April and the females arrive about a week after the males. Chicks begin to hatch in June and the young ride on the parent's backs for protection during the first week or two. Adult loons begin to leave the refuge in late August or early September, with the young departing for larger bodies of water last.

    Learn more about common loons.

  • Sandhill Crane

    Sandhill Crane

    Have you heard their bugling, rattling kar-r-r-o-o-o -kar-r-r-o-o-o cries? The unison call, a duet made by a mated pair of sandhill cranes, can be heard from more than a mile away. These large, stately birds are commonly seen feeding in unforested areas and marshes. Although their natural color is a pale, almost silver gray, the sandhill cranes at Seney National Wildlife Refuge paint their feathers with iron-rich mud, staining them a rusty hue. Some biologists believe the cranes may do this intentionally. It helps camouflage them while they nest.

  • Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf

    Several packs of gray wolves are known to use refuge lands as part of their home territory. Although not commonly seen on the refuge, keep your eyes peeled when driving along the roadways as sometimes you will be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these beautiful animals. If you are out hiking on the refuge it is not uncommon to find tracks and scat left behind.

    Learn more about the gray wolf.

  • Northern Hardwood Forest

    Northern Hardwood Forest In Spring with Blooming Large-flowered Trilliums

    Throughout the eastern Upper Peninsula and the refuge, many forests have been altered considerably. Pioneers first logged the northern forests for lumber. Once the trees had been cleared, areas that used to be rich with hardwoods were converted into fields for farming. These hardwood forests were characterized by trees such as sugar maple, American beech and yellow birch and are home to black-throated blue warblers, gray wolf, and northern goshawk, among others. These forests generally have a number of spring blossoming woodland wildflowers including trillium, spring beauty, bunchberry, twinflower and many more. Plans have been set in motion on the refuge to convert most of our old farm fields back into hardwood forest.

  • Mixed-Pine Forest

    Mixed Pine Forest

    Over the last century, mixed pine forests in the eastern Upper Peninsula have undergone significant changes. Historically, long-lived red and white pines were the dominant tree species in these forests. Clear-cutting, slash fires and fire suppression have all taken their toll on these ecosystems. Jack pine has now become more prevalent, dominating some of these former sites. Today, various techniques are being used to restore these sites including selective timber harvests and prescribed fire. Birds like the northern flicker, whip-poor-will, and Cape May warbler use mixed pine forests along with countless other species of plants and animals. Although the restoration of these forests will be slow, it is our goal to restore these ecosystems to near pre-European settlement conditions.

  • Wetlands

    Strangmoor Bog Wetland

    In 1912-15, 23 years before the refuge was established, an effort to drain wetlands for agriculture in the central portion of what was to become Seney National Wildlife Refuge was conducted. The largest of these drainage projects, the Walsh Ditch, continued to function until 2002 when a long-term restoration project began. This project plugged the ditch to restore wetland function. Native wetland ecosystems at the refuge are important habitat for species like American bittern, Le Conte's sparrow, northern harrier, sedge wren and yellow rail. Today, the wetlands are making a comeback, upland species are retreating and sedges, grasses, and other wetland plants are taking root.