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Wildlife Viewing Tips

card and bunting judy

"The quieter you become, the more you hear" ~ Ram Dass

The spring and summer months are a good time to view nesting song birds, wildflowers, turkey poults, and amphibians. While the fall and winter months are good viewing for white-tail deer and migratory birds such as waterfowl. The Refuge is also known to have Bald Eagle sightings during the winter and early spring.

Here are some wildlife viewing tips:

  • Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife on the refuge. During summer months, little is moving during the hottest part of the day
  • Observe from the sidelines, and use binoculars for a closer look. 
  • Walk slow and easy to avoid snapping sticks and crunching leaves.
  • Consider your clothes. You want to dress for the weather, but quiet clothing is preferable.
  • Leaving your pets at home will increase you chances of seeing wildlife.
  • Leave all “abandoned” young animals alone. The parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave. Visit our Baby/Injured Animal Page to learn more on this topic.
  • Don’t offer snacks, it disrupts their digestive system and leads to other undesirable issues; therefore, feeding wildlife is prohibited.
  • Sit quietly in one spot. Often you will hear more than you will see.
  • Don't stare straight at wildlife. They can see this as a threat, and may leave quicker than if you frequently change where your eyes are directed.
  • Consider wildlife behavior. For example, between rain storms, or before snow storms, wildlife will emerge to feed.
  • Do you smell!? Strong unnatural odors such as perfume or tobacco can prevent you from seeing wildlife.
  • Teach children to quietly observe, they are more likely to be successful and other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration.
  • Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, and nest left behind often tell interesting stories about what has been to that area. 
  • If you see movement, don't jerk your head to get a better look. Slow movements are less likely to scare wildlife.
  • Don't forget to look above and below you, wildlife is everywhere!



Page Photo Credits — Northern Cardinal and Indigo Bunting - jmiller/usfws
Last Updated: May 28, 2015
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