Featured Species

Harris Neck NWR supports a wide diversity of wildlife, including nearly 240 species of breeding and wintering birds, more than 20 species of mammals, and an undetermined number of reptiles, amphibians, and fish.  The refuge is within the range of several listed threatened or endangered wildlife species.

The Georgia coastal marshes are a historic migration corridor for waterfowl that use the Atlantic Flyway.  Populations vary greatly from year-to-year, depending on water levels and weather conditions farther up the flyway.  Species range from dabbling ducks, such as mallards, gadwall, and teal, to diving ducks, such as scaup and ring-necked ducks.
Harris Neck NWR supports a diverse population of songbirds.  A number of surveys to document the passerine populations on the refuge have been conducted, including annual Christmas bird counts.  The refuge is a very important area for wading birds, including the endangered wood stork.  Great blue herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, little blue herons, herons, night herons, and white ibis are residents of the refuge impoundments and salt marshes.  At least 12 species of terns and gulls have been recorded for Harris Neck NWR.  Most are observed in open areas of the estuarine marsh and along the edges of the moist-soil units.  Raptor species that use the refuge year-round include the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, osprey, barred owl, great horned owl, eastern screech owl, barn owl, turkey vulture, and black vulture.  Seasonal visitors include American kestrel, merlin, peregrine falcon, swallow-tailed kite, Mississippi kite, and northern harrier.

Listed species occurring on or near Harris Neck NWR include the wood stork, West-Indian manatee, and sea turtles.  Resident game species include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and bobwhite quail.  Bobcats are common throughout the woodlands and field edges.  Other furbearing species include otter, gray fox, and raccoon.  Non-game resident wildlife potentially includes Rafinesque's big-eared bat, northern yellow bat, and southeastern myotis, but specific information about their use of the refuge is unknown.

Harris Neck NWR has an abundant fisheries resource in refuge waters.  The lifeblood of the fishery production is the cycle of tidal flow of the estuarine marshes.  Salt marshes provide important nursery habitat for a variety of marine organisms including many species of fish, shrimp, and oysters.  These food resources are the basis of the food chain and support higher level predators such as larger sport fish and birds.