U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

Federally endangered sandplain gerardia (copyright D. Sias/TNC)
500 St. Marks Ln.
Islip, NY   11751
E-mail: longislandrefuges@fws.gov
Phone Number: 631-286-0485
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Seatuck NWR is being tested as a transplant site for the federally endangered plant, sandplain gerardia. (copyright D. Sias/TNC)
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

Wetlands The remaining half of the 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 USFWS Northeast Estuary Office has classified the Seatuck NWR as part of the larger Great South Bay and declared the Refuge a significant coastal habitat.

Fish and Wildlife Seatuck NWR is essentially an island surrounded by suburban development, and as such provides valuable habitat for wildlife. Over 210 bird species have been documented at the Refuge. Mammals, including white-tailed deer, raccoon and red fox are common and conspicuous. Osprey, a New York State species of special concern, nest on the Refuge. Peregrine falcons have been routinely observed at the Refuge. Waterfowl, including black ducks, are present year round but are most common during winter. Wading birds and shorebirds are conspicuous at the Refuge. During the breeding season, songbirds are found in the upland areas.

Raptors--Seatuck NWR provides important habitat for raptors moving along the coast of Long Island. Raptors are commonly observed at the Refuge during spring and autumn migrations.

Raptor species present at Seatuck NWR include red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, merlin, northern harrier, red- shouldered hawk, Cooper's hawk, and sharp-shinned hawk. In addition, screech and great horned owls use the Refuge throughout the year.

Waterfowl--Seventeen species of waterfowl have been observed on the Refuge. Those observed in greatest number are greater scaup, Canada goose, Atlantic brant, bufflehead, American black duck, red-breasted merganser, and mute swan. Canvasback are observed sporadically. Long-tailed duck are observed during January and April. Black duck, greater scaup, bufflehead, and red breasted merganser are present in the greatest numbers during late fall and during winter. Green-winged teal are fairly common in the autumn.

Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns and Allied Species--Nine species of herons, egrets and ibises are commonly observed on the Refuge. Great blue herons are present year-round; green herons are present from May through September; snowy egrets are present from April through October; and, great egrets are present from April through September. The number of long legged wading birds peaks in August and there is a smaller peak earlier in April. American bitterns are conspicuous during the winter months and, surprisingly, a least bittern, rare for Long Island, has been observed on the Refuge. Other marsh and waterbird species observed on the Refuge include double-crested cormorant, common loon, horned grebe, pied-billed grebe, red-necked grebe , sora, and belted kingfisher.

Four species of gullsherring, great black backed, ring billed and laughing are commonly observed on the Refuge. Herring gulls are the most common and are present year round. Two species of terns, least and common, are observed on the Refuge from May through August.

Other shorebirds include greater yellowlegs, least sandpiper, black-bellied plover , killdeer, spotted sandpiper, short-billed dowitcher, lesser yellowlegs, semipalmated sandpiper , pectoral sandpiper, dunlin, and willet. Shorebird numbers peak in August, with high numbers also present during the months of May, July and September. Each year, willet nests are found on the Refuge.

Other Migratory Birds--On the Refuge as a whole, the most common birds detected are red-winged blackbird, common yellowthroat, tree swallow, gray catbird, and American crow.

Other Resident Wildlife--Resident wildlife observed on the Refuge include gray squirrels, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail, red fox, raccoon, mice and voles.

Fish-After completion of a saltmarsh restoration project in 1992, both the number and species diversity of fish increased dramatically. The most common fish species observed are sheepshead minnows, banded killifish, and marsh killifish. Species exhibiting the greatest increase since tidal flow restoration include sheepshead minnow and banded killifish. Other fish species observed include American silverside, American eel, mosquitofish, menhaden, stickleback, and striped killifish.

Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species

Osprey are a New York State species of special concern, and have been increasing on Long Island for the past several years. Osprey have nested at the Seatuck Refuge since 1983, with a noted increase in the number of nests and production at the Refuge. Common terns and least terns, New York State threatened species, are observed from May through August.

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