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National Wildlife Refuge

103 Headquarters Rd
Baring, ME   04694
E-mail: fw5rw_mhnwr@fws.gov
Phone Number: 207-454-7161
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Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Moosehorn is one of the northern most national wildlife refuges in the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory route that follows the eastern coast of North America. The refuge provides important feeding and nesting habitat for many bird species, including waterfowl. Wading birds, shorebirds, upland game birds, songbirds, and birds of prey.

The refuge consists of two divisions. The Baring Division covers 20,016 acres and is located off U.S. Route 1, southwest of Calais. The 8,735 acre Edmunds Division is between Dennysville and Whiting on U.S. Route 1 and borders the tidal waters of Cobscook Bay. Each division contains a National Wilderness Area, thousands of acres managed to preserve their wild character for future generation.

Getting There . . .
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is located off Route 1 southwest of Calais, ME. It can be reached by taking Route 1 North from coastal Maine, Route 1 South from northern Maine, or Route 9 east from the Bangor area. From Route 1, follow signs to the Refuge Headquarters about 3 miles south on the Charlotte Road. The office is open Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., except holidays. An information booth provides after - hours visitors with brochures and maps.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The refuge's landscape is varied, with rolling hills, large ledge outcrops, streams, lakes, bogs, and marshes. A northern hardwood forest of aspen, maple, birch, spruce and fir dominates the upland. Scattered stands of majestic white pine are common. The Edmunds Division boasts several miles of rocky shoreline where tidal fluctuations of up to 24 feet occur twice a day.

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Located in Washington County, it is here that Americans first greet the morning sun, and local citizens are proud of its nickname "Sunrise County". It was also here, in 1604, that the explorers Sieur DeMonts and Champlain celebrated the first Christmas in the New World.

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Management Activities
American woodcock are studied and managed intensively at Moosehorn NWR. Unlike their relatives, these reclusive shorebirds have evolved to live ;in the forests of eastern North America. They spend their days in dense alder thickets, using their long bills to locate and extract earthworms from the ground. At night, they move to clearings to roost.

Woodcock are best known for their spectacular spring courtship flights. At dusk and dawn from early April to mid-May, the males fly to their territories in open areas. Each bird begins his mating ritual with a series of nasal 'peents'. He then takes wing in a spiral flight that carries him several hundred feet into the air while eh warbles a plaintive song to waiting females. He returns to the same spot after each flight and repeats his performance several times over the next half hour.

Unfortunately, this rite of spring is in jeopardy. The woodcock population in the Atlantic Flyway has declined steadily over the past two decades. This downturn is due mostly to loss of habitat through conversion of brush-covered land into house lots, tree plantations, and mature forests. Research and management programs at Moosehorn NWR have provided valuable information to stem this decline.

The refuge serves as a breeding area and migration stop for a variety of waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds. Black ducks, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, Canada geese, and common loons can be seen on the refuge's lakes and marshes. In mid-May, Magurrewock Marsh, which borders U.S. Route 1 on the Baring Division, abounds with goose and duck broods. In addition, great blue herons and American bitterns feed there during the warmer months.

Moosehorn's fire management program uses controlled burns to reduce fuel loads by removing accumulated dead vegetation. This practice minimizes the chance of wildfires, while improving habitat. Fires stimulate new growth, providing food and cover for wildlife.

Wetlands management on the refuge has greatly increased waterfowl numbers. Dabbling ducks, such as black ducks and wood ducks, require water depths of no more than 18 inches of which to feed. Water control structures on marshes and ponds allow managers to maintain optimal water levels for plant growth and feeding by waterfowl. Water level control provides necessary food and cover during the breeding season. It also allows marshes to be drained periodically for rejuvenation.