Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually

National Wildlife Refuge - Washington

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Nisqually River Delta near Puget Sound in northeastern Thurston County and northwestern Pierce County, Washington. The refuge provides habitat and nesting areas for waterfowl and other migratory birds. It includes a protected estuary, salt marshes and open mudflats, freshwater marshes, open grassland, and riparian woodland and brush. The Nisqually River Delta is Washington's largest relatively undisturbed estuary. The confluence of the freshwater Nisqually River and the saltwater south Puget Sound has created a variety of unique environments, each rich in nutrients and natural resources for the local wildlife. The delta provides habitats for more than 300 different species of fish and wildlife.

maps

Map of Washington State Highways / Tourist Map. Published by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).Washington State - Highway Map

Map of Washington State Highways / Tourist Map. Published by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

brochures

Brochure of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually - Brochure

Brochure of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Where the River Meets the Sound. An introduction to Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually - Where the River Meets the Sound

Where the River Meets the Sound. An introduction to Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Trails Map of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually - Trails Map

Trails Map of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Birds at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually - Birds

Birds at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Hunting at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually - Hunting

Hunting at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).The Flyway - Spring 2020

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).The Flyway - Summer 2020

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).The Flyway - Fall 2020

The Flyway - Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/billy_frank_jr_nisqually https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Frank_Jr._Nisqually_National_Wildlife_Refuge The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Nisqually River Delta near Puget Sound in northeastern Thurston County and northwestern Pierce County, Washington. The refuge provides habitat and nesting areas for waterfowl and other migratory birds. It includes a protected estuary, salt marshes and open mudflats, freshwater marshes, open grassland, and riparian woodland and brush. The Nisqually River Delta is Washington's largest relatively undisturbed estuary. The confluence of the freshwater Nisqually River and the saltwater south Puget Sound has created a variety of unique environments, each rich in nutrients and natural resources for the local wildlife. The delta provides habitats for more than 300 different species of fish and wildlife.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Any meeting of a river and a sea is a place of change… It will be proof of our ability to survive… if we learn to respect wild places like the Nisqually Delta, to trust them for their naturalness, and to love them for their power to move us. Victor B. Scheffer, Scholar and Author Nisqually River as seen from the River Overlook Photo: Sheila McCartan USFWS A Protected Estuary The Nisqually River Delta, a biologically rich and diverse area at the southern end of Puget Sound, supports a variety of habitats. Here, the freshwater of the Nisqually River combines with the saltwater of Puget Sound to form an estuary rich in nutrients and detritus. These nutrients support a web of sea life – the benefits which extend throughout Puget Sound and beyond. While most major estuaries in the state have been filled, dredged, or developed, Nisqually River’s has been set aside for wildlife. In Tree Swallow 1974, Nisqually © Mark Gamba National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the delta and its diversity of fish and wildlife habitats. The Nisqually estuary was restored in 2009, by removing dikes and reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound. This is the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and an important step in the recovery of Puget Sound. Harbor Seals © Jessie Barham Female Bufflehead © John Jacobson A Home for Wildlife As surrounding wildlife habitat is lost to development, Nisqually Refuge has become an increasingly important place for wildlife, especially migratory birds. Birds on their migrations north and south use the Refuge as a stopover to feed and rest before continuing their migration. For others, including thousands of ducks and geese, it’s the end of their seasonal journey and a place to spend the winter. Songbirds arriving in the spring find places to nest and raise their young. For resident birds, Nisqually Refuge is a year-round home. Over 300 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians inhabit Nisqually NWR. A variety of hawks, owls, and other raptors hunt in the fields and marshes. Woodpeckers, warblers, and small mammals are found in the woodlands. Shorebird flocks search for food in the mudflats while harbor seals rest in the salt marshes nearby. Freshwater ponds provide habitat for otters, ducks, and herons. Mixed conifer forests on the bluffs above the Delta provide perches for bald eagles. Salmon and steelhead use the estuary for passage to upriver areas and transition to the Sound. Miles 0 1/2 0 Kilometers 1/2 N Puget Sound Research Natural Area Closed to all consumptive uses. Closed to boats October 1 to March 31. Dr . Luhr Beach Boat Ramp alm on Cre ek Sanctuary c lo s e Puget Sound Viewing Platform d to all access including b oats v lly Ri qua Nis er Mounts Rd. McAllister Creek Viewing Platform Shannon Slough Blind 5 coma To Ta Observation Tower te r C reek t R Red S 46th Ave. McN eil St re e Nisqually Reach Nature Center i d ge view D’Milluhr Rd. Nisqually River Overlook Twin Barns Observation Platform McA Meridian Rd. li s l Riparian Forest Overlook Visitor Center Environmental Exit 114 Education Center 5 ia To Olymp y in Wa Mart Exit 114 Refuge Entrance Twin Barns Loop Trail (1 mile, Accessible) Approved Refuge Boundary Nisqually Estuary Trail (.5 miles) Research Natural Area Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail (1 mile) Private & Other Lands Seasonal Trail Closure During Waterfowl Hunt Nisqually Indian Tribe Lands Hoffman Hill Trail Dike (Closed for Sanctuary) Sanctuary Boundary (In Approved Refuge Boundary) Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Hunting Area Nisqually NWR Hunting Area A Place For People Nisqually Refuge provides abundant opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation. Hiking, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, fishing, and environmental education all allow visitors to learn more about the natural world and the importance of places rich in beauty and biological diversity. Hooded Merganser © Mark Gamba The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries throughout the country for the continued conservation, protection, and enhancement of our fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. Spider © Mark Gamba Twin Barns Loop Trail © Mark Gamba Location The Refuge is located 8 miles east of Olympia, Washington. From Interstate 5, take exit 114 and follow the signs to the Refuge. Hours The Refuge and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The office is open Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. The Visitor Center and Nature Shop are open Wednesday through Sunday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Entrance Fee Daily fee is $3.00 per four adults. Valid Federal Duck Stamp, Interagency Annual, Military Annual, Refuge Annual, Senior, and Access Passes admit four adults. Children 16 and under enter free. Trails The Refuge has 4 miles of tra
Welcome Educator! Thank you for choosing to bring your students to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge! We are happy that you are using the Refuge’s resources to enhance the learning experience for your students. With the help of this guide, we hope that field trips to the Refuge delight the senses and nurture an ongoing process of discovery. The guide includes information about the Refuge’s habitats and wildlife, as well as the environmental education program: field trip planning, pre-field trip and postfield trip activities, and hands-on field trip activities. Our approach to learning is comprehensive, integrated and hands-on. Field trip activities are designed to compliment in-class learning, teacher’s objectives, and meet state requirements for environmental education. We believe that our role as educators is to awaken in students the following:  Awe and delight in nature with respect for all life forms  A foundation of practical ecological knowledge  A sense of belonging to a special human niche within the natural world  A feeling of accountability for human impacts upon the environment  Sensitivity towards diverse interests and cultural perspectives  The skills to identify and resolve environmental problems Together as educators, we have an opportunity to increase environmental awareness throughout our communities. We look forward to working with you! Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge 1 Educator’s Guide, Introduction US Fish & Wildlife Service The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the principal agency through which the United States government carries out its responsibilities to care for the country’s wildlife and their habitats. Migratory birds, endangered species, certain marine mammals, and freshwater and anadromous fish are all wildlife resources managed by the FWS. Some of the natural resource programs within the agency include: Endangered Species The FWS leads the Federal effort to protect and restore animals and plants that are in danger of extinction both in the United States and worldwide. Using the best scientific evidence available, FWS biologists identify species that appear to be endangered or threatened. After review, species may be placed on the Interior Department’s official “List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.” FWS biologists, along with other partners, then develop recovery plans for the species that include research, habitat preservation and management, and other recovery activities. Migratory Birds Because many bird species fly thousands of miles in their annual migrations, conservation by any single state or nation alone is not possible; cooperative efforts by each are required. The United States government is responsible for coordinating migratory bird conservation under several laws and international treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia. The FWS is responsible for the conservation of more than 800 species of migratory birds; it regulates hunting, studies bird populations, and acquires and manages many national wildlife refuges to provide secure habitat for migratory birds. Fisheries Restoring nationally significant fisheries that have been depleted by overfishing, pollution or habitat damage is a major effort of the FWS. Research laboratories study fish health, genetics, ecology, nutrition and other topics to provide the information needed to raise fish in hatcheries and restore wild fish populations. As part of this program, nearly 80 national fish hatcheries produce some 50 species of fish. The FWS stocks more than 160 million fish annually. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge 2 Educator’s Guide, Introduction Federal Aid Through a system of excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment, more than $50 million per year is distributed to states for fish and wildlife management. Grants to states fund the purchase and development of critical habitat and research on endangered species. Law Enforcement The FWS enforces Federal laws that protect endangered species, migratory birds, marine mammals, and fisheries. The FWS carries out U.S. enforcement obligations under international agreements. Special agents work to prevent exploitation of game and nongame species, such as the interstate transportation of illegally taken wildlife. Wildlife inspector stations at major ports of entry check the legality of documents and permits and inspect shipments of live animals and wildlife products to ensure that protected species are not imported or exported illegally. National Wildlife Refuge System The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lands and waterways set aside specifically for wildlife. Over 552 refuges stretch across the continent and over to the Pacific Islands. They range in size from Minnesota’s tiny Mille Lacs (less than 1 acre) to Alaska’s sprawling Yukon Delta (approximately 20 million acres). Many early refuges were created for he
J F M AM J J ASO ND ___ Hooded Merganser* ___ Common Merganser ___ Red-breasted Merganser ___ Ruddy Duck Quail ___ California Quail* Loons ___ Red-throated Loon ___ Pacific Loon ___ Common Loon SS Grebes ___ Pied-billed Grebe* ___ Horned Grebe ___ Red-necked Grebe ___ Eared Grebe ___ Western Grebe Cormorants ___ Brandt’s Cormorant ___ Double-crested Cormorant ___ Pelagic Cormorant Pelicans ___ Brown Pelican SE Herons and Bitterns ___ American Bittern* ___ Great Blue Heron* ___ Great Egret ___ Green Heron* Vultures ___ Turkey Vulture Ospreys, Hawks, and Harriers ___ Osprey ___ White-tailed Kite ___ Bald Eagle* SS ___ Northern Harrier ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk ___ Cooper’s Hawk ___ Red-tailed Hawk* Falcons ___ American Kestrel* ___ Merlin ___ Peregrine Falcon SS Rails, Gallinules, and Coots ___ Virginia Rail* ___ Sora* ___ American Coot* Cranes ___ Sandhill Crane SE Plovers, Stilts and Avocets ___ Black-bellied Plover ___ Semipalmated Plover J F M AM J J ASO ND ___ Killdeer* Snipe and Sandpipers ___ Spotted Sandpiper* ___ Solitary Sandpiper ___ Greater Yellowlegs ___ Lesser Yellowlegs ___ Whimbrel ___ Red Knot ___ Sanderling ___ Western Sandpiper ___ Least Sandpiper ___ Baird’s Sandpiper ___ Pectoral Sandpiper ___ Dunlin ___ Short-billed Dowitcher ___ Long-billed Dowitcher ___ Wilson’s Snipe* ___ Wilson’s Phalarope* ___ Red-necked Phalarope Gulls and Terns ___ Bonaparte’s Gull ___ Mew Gull ___ Ring-billed Gull ___ Western Gull ___ California Gull ___ Herring Gull ___ Thayer’s Gull ___ Glaucous-winged Gull ___ Glaucous-winged X West. Hybrid ___ Glaucous Gull ___ Caspian Tern ___ Black Tern ___ Common Tern Auks, Murres, and Puffins ___ Pigeon Guillemot ___ Marbled Murrelet ST, FT ___ Rhinoceros Auklet Pigeons and Doves ___ Rock Pigeon ___ Band-tailed Pigeon* ___ Eurasian Collared-Dove ___ Mourning Dove Owls ___ Barn Owl* ___ Great Horned Owl* ___ Snowy Owl ___ Barred Owl ___ Long-eared Owl ___ Short-eared Owl* Swifts ___ Vaux’s Swift J F M AM J J ASO ND Hummingbirds ___ Anna’s Hummingbird* ___ Rufous Hummingbird* Kingfishers ___ Belted Kingfisher Woodpeckers ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker* ___ Downy Woodpecker* ___ Hairy Woodpecker* ___ Northern Flicker* ___ Pileated Woodpecker* Flycatchers ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher ___ Western Wood-pewee* ___ Willow Flycatcher* ___ Pacific-slope Flycatcher* Shrikes ___ Northern Shrike Vireos ___ Cassin’s Vireo* ___ Hutton’s Vireo* ___ Warbling Vireo* Jays, Magpies, and Crows ___ Steller’s Jay ___ Western Scrub Jay ___ American Crow* ___ Common Raven Larks, Swallows ___ Purple Martin ___ Tree Swallow* ___ Violet-green Swallow* ___ N. Rough-winged Swallow* ___ Bank Swallow ___ Cliff Swallow* ___ Barn Swallow* Titmice, Bushtits ___ Black-capped Chickadee* ___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee* ___ Bushtit* Nuthatches, Creepers ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch* ___ Brown Creeper* Wrens ___ Bewick’s Wren* ___ House Wren ___ Pacific Wren* ___ Marsh Wren* Kinglets ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet* ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet Thrushes ___ Swainson’s Thrush* ___ Hermit Thrush* ___ American Robin* ___ Varied Thrush Starlings ___ European Starling* Pipits ___ American Pipit Waxwings ___ Cedar Waxwing* Wood-Warblers ___ Orange-crowned Warbler* ___ Nashville Warbler ___ Yellow Warbler* ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler* ___ Townsend’s Warbler ___ MacGillivray’s Warbler* ___ Common Yellowthroat* ___ Wilson’s Warbler* Towhees, Sparrows ___ Spotted Towhee* ___ Savannah Sparrow* ___ Fox Sparrow ___ Song Sparrow* ___ Lincoln’s Sparrow ___ White-throated Sparrow ___ White-crowned Sparrow* ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow Juncos, Buntings ___ Dark-eyed Junco* Tanagers ___ Western Tanager* Cardinals ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* ___ Lazuli Bunting Blackbirds ___ Red-winged Blackbird* ___ Western Meadowlark* ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* ___ Brewer’s Blackbird* ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* ___ Bullock’s Oriole* Finches ___ Purple Finch* ___ House Finch* ___ Red Crossbill ___ Pine Siskin* ___ American Goldfinch* ___ Evening Grosbeak J F M AM J J ASO ND Accidentals – only a few records of occurrence on Nisqually Delta. They are not reasonably expected to be found more often than once every several years, if ever again. ___ Ross’s Goose ___ Mute Swan ___ Canvasback ___ Long-tailed Duck ___ Mountain Quail ___ Northern Bobwhite ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* ___ Ruffed Grouse ___ Yellow-billed Loon ___ Short-tailed Shearwater ___ Leach’s Storm-petrel ___ American White Pelican ___ Snowy Egret ___ Cattle Egret ___ Northern Goshawk ___ Red-shouldered Hawk ___ Ferruginous Hawk ___ Rough-legged Hawk ___ Gyrfalcon ___ Prairie Falcon ___ American Golden-Plover ___ Pacific Golden-Plover ___ Black-necked Stilt ___ American Avocet ___ Willet ___ Long-billed Curlew ___ Marbled Godwit ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper ___ Sharp-tailed Sandpiper ___ Ruff ___ Black-headed Gull ___ Franklin’s Gull ___ Heermann’s Gull ___ Iceland Gull ___ Slaty-backed Gull ___ Parasitic Jaeger ___ Common Murre ___ Ancient Murrelet ___ Northern Pygmy-Owl
2020-2021 Hunt Dates • Geese: Oct. 17–29 & Nov. 7, 2020–Jan. 31, 2021 • Ducks: Oct. 17–25 & Oct. 28, 2020–Jan. 31, 2021 • Scaup: Nov. 7, 2020–Jan. 31, 2021 • Youth: Feb. 6, 2021 • Active Military & Veterans: Feb. 6, 2021 Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex 100 Brown Farm Road Olympia, WA 98516 360/753 9467 http://www.fws.gov/refuge/billy_frank_jr_nisqually U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov 1 800/344 WILD October 2020 Understand the Signs The following signs are in place to help you understand Refuge boundaries as well as activities that are allowed and not allowed in certain areas of the Refuge. National Wildlife Refuge Boundary These signs let you know you are entering a National Wildlife Refuge. Area Beyond This Sign Closed This area is closed to all entry. No hunting or boating is permitted. No roads or trails are open to the public. Research Natural Area Area behind these signs are closed to all access Oct. 1–March 31. The RNA is closed year round to all consumptive uses, including hunting, fishing, and shellfishing. No Hunting Zone These signs are used to inform the public that no hunting is allowed beyond these signs. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Waterfowl Hunting Waterfowl Hunting Waterfowl hunting is permitted in designated areas on the Nisqually River Delta during the fall and winter hunt season. Where You Can Hunt Federal Lands – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns and manages about 3000 acres of the Nisqually Delta as Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. 190 acres of the Refuge are open to waterfowl hunting. State Lands – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife owns and manages three parcels of land within the approved Refuge boundary which are open to waterfowl hunting. Where You Cannot Hunt All portions of the Refuge are closed to waterfowl hunting unless specifically identified as open to hunting. The Research Natural Area and Sanctuary Area are not open to public hunting. Watch for “No Hunting” or “Area Closed” signs. Access to Refuge Hunting Areas Access is by boat. Luhr Beach is the closest boat ramp to the hunt areas. Regulations Shot must be U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved non-toxic shot. All Washington State hunting regulations are in effect. There is a 25 shell limit. Check Washington State Regulations for current year information. Call the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife at (360) 902-2200 or the Refuge at (360) 753-9467 for complete information on hunting regulations. Retrieving Birds Hunters may not enter closed areas to retrieve dead or crippled birds. Allow enough room between the closed boundary and where you are hunting to retrieve birds. Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR Hunting Area and Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Hunting Area
The Flyway Spring 2020 Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually and Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuges Contents Salt Marsh Mud Animals ................ 1 The Brown-headed Cowbird:................ 2 Scientist in the Classroom....... 3 Poem, “Little visitors”....... 3 Spring Guided Walks and Weekend Programs............... 4 Fostering a Visual Connection with Nature................... 6 Yellow Flag Iris...... 7 Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival....... 8 The 2020 Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival will be held April 24-26 in Hoquiam More Salt Marsh Mud Animals Means Healthy Estuaries By Lynn Corliss Associate Professor of Oceanography and Environmental Science, South Puget Sound Community College such as pea crabs, scale worms and even clams. Sometimes when you are digging for these shrimp, you end up digging up clams as well. There are so Take a shovel and many different species dig into the mud in of clams or bivalves an estuary and you in Puget Sound. Some might be surprised of the more common at all the organones that you will isms that live there. come across are the On the surface purple varnish clams, of the mud there little neck clams, and are microbes and the non-native maplankton that were nila clam. All of these left behind from macro-invertebrates the last outgoare filter feeders that ing tide. You will play an important role also see layers of between the plankton seaweed and algae that feed on nutrients on the mud. If you from our estuaries and dig deeper, you will the larger organisms find many different Top: Manila Clams. Photo by Jenny that we eat. Woodman. Below: Ghost shrimp. Photo types of worms, from Friends of Netarts Bay Watershed. So, why do benthos crustaceans and or organisms that live clams. Most of the worms you encounon the bottom of Puget Sound matter? ter belong to the phylum Annelida. Worms are excellent at bioturbation or Annelida includes the subclass Oligothe recycling of nutrients. They bring chaeta which includes the common oxygen down into low oxygen, anoxic earthworm that you find in your garden sediment, and create organic matter and many other marine worms. You from their waste. Their waste is food can identify different worm species for plankton and microbes. Mud shrimp by their worm castings or the pattern and ghost shrimp also cycle oxygen of how they get rid of their waste at down into their burrows as they move the opening of their burrow. Common their tails and create a current. These crustaceans that burrow in our estuaries shrimp also provide homes for many are both the blue mud shrimp and pink species and food for some our favorite ghost shrimp. These shrimp can have commercial fish in Puget Sound. One simple U shaped burrows in the winter of the most important seafood indusor very complex burrows in the sumtries in Puget Sound is our Shellfish mer months. These burrows provide homes for other commensal animals Continued on page 8 The Brown-headed Cowbird: A Recent Resident from the Great Plains By David True As springtime comes charging past winter, the woods and thickets around the Norm Dicks Visitor Center start to come alive with the voices of birdsong. It is not uncommon to hear the odd whistling “per-pree” sound of the Brown-headed Cowbird as the male sings his odd song on top of a small tree. Just as often, the cowbirds may make a harsh rattle as they fly past the trees to open fields where they may gather for feeding, often near agricultural areas where livestock can be found. For anyone who may have observed or heard this species, this may not be considered a joyous sound of spring. Cowbirds have a notorious reputation for a number of reasons, particularly for their role of laying their eggs in the nests of other birds (also known as brood parasitism), and they can sometimes be a pest around farmlands. Yet this subtly beautiful bird has a fascinating biology, and this aspect of their lives is worth presenting on how this species has learned to survive and succeed. Cowbirds are believed to have been originally a Great Plains species, a bird that was adapted to following large herds of grazing mammals, particularly bison. As Published quarterly by the Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Phone: 360.753.9467 Fax: 360.534.9302 www.fws.gov/refuge/billy_frank_jr_nisqually www.fws.gov/refuge/grays_harbor Volume 12, Number 1 Editor: Susie Hayes Editorial Advisors: Jennifer Cutillo, David True Graphic design: Lee Miller Save trees, think green. To receive The Flyway electronically, email nisqually@fws.gov 2 the large mammals walked, in their wake the grassland was disturbed for the Cowbirds to feed on seeds and insects. Since the large grazing animals would rarely settle down in one area long enough for the cowbird to raise a family in a nest, the bird adapted to laying its eggs in the nests of other birds. Fledgling cowbirds grow fast and large, and often they can outcompete the other young birds that
The Flyway Summer 2020 Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually and Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuges Contents The “Early Bird” and Its Kin............ 1 On the Wing ......... 3 Thank you Friends Members! ............. 3 Summer Lecture Series ................... 4 New Estuaries and Oceans ................. 6 This Ain’t My First Rodeo ................... 7 Friends President Testifies in Washington DC .... 8 New and Renewing Friends Members/ Summer Flyway 2020..................... 9 Gratitude ............ 10 The Refuge is Home to the “Early Bird” and Its Kin By Kim Dolgin thrush, and they are early in at least two senses: in many parts of the country they are among the first birds to lay eggs in the spring and they start singing earlier in the morning than most other birds. (They also tend to be one of the latest evening singers, and so they put in long days.) While they do eat worms, grubs and caterpillars, fruits and berries actually make up more of their diets. They winter The thrush family, farther north which includes American Robin photo by John Whitehead than the majorbluebirds and ity of thrushes, nightingales as well as the more clasand they live year–round in most of the sically brown/spotted thrushes, are U.S., including here at the Refuge. Interprimarily woodland–dwelling birds estingly, the individual robins we see in that can be found over most of the winter and those we see in summer are globe. Members of the family share likely not the same birds. Most robins many characteristics: they have round are short–distance migrants. Our sumheads, long thin beaks and relatively mer residents head south when it gets long legs. Their babies are spotted cold while our winter residents head and the females shoulder the work north for breeding. During the cold seaof building their open–cup nests and son robins form large flocks, especially handle brooding by solely or mostly by in the evening, whereas in summer themselves. Males are similarly colored they are more spaced out as the males to but brighter than females. Thrushes stand sentry over their territories. are ground foragers and display a Have you ever taken a close look at a characteristic “hop and pause” morobin? They are so easily identified that tion when searching for food. Many I have found that many people stop thrushes have beautiful songs. really looking after seeing their brown American Robins are the proverbial back and red breast and so never no“early bird” that catches the worm. They are North America’s largest Continued on page 2 American Robins—birds that are truly interesting—are so common and conspicuous that they are often ignored. They, together with the Varied Thrush and the Swainson’s Thrush are the three members of the (horribly named) Turdidae family readily seen or heard at the Refuge. The Hermit Thrush may also appear, but only rarely. Robins From page 1 tice robins’ other defining characteristics. Robins’ heads range from brown to jet black (males have the darker heads), and they have an incomplete white circle around their eyes. Their throats are white with black streaks; their bills are yellow with a dark tip which becomes more prominent in the winter. Their bellies and the feathers underneath their tail are a brilliant white. The “red” on their breast —it looks more orange to me!—is quite a variable color and varies by gender (females’ are paler) and region. Varied Thrush have an even more striking coloration. Their orange bellies are interrupted by a black (male) or grey (female) breast band and have orange wing bars and eye stripes. In males the head, back and tail are blueish gray, while females are browner. Because they need large patches of coniferous forest and prefer dense cover, their numbers are in deep decline. In many ways, Varied Thrush are representative of the thrush family. They are ground foragers who eat primarily insects in the summer and switch to berries in the winter. They build open cup nests and lay blue eggs. As mentioned above, the males are a little brighter than the females, they live in the woods, and their babies have spotted breasts. Robins can be found in a greater variety of habitats than any other local songbird. (Give them an A+ for adaptability!) In suburban areas they spend so much time on lawns that it is easy to forget that they prefer to live The Refuge’s third comin open woodlands and along Varied Thrush photo by Michael Schramm mon thrush, the Swainson’s forest edges. During much of the Thrush, is more typically year, you can watch robins repetitively do their familiar colored than the other two Refuge thrushes. We have “hop a few feet, pause, and cock their head” motion. the “russet–backed” variety, and as the name indicates Robins have both excellent hearing and sight, and while our birds’ backs are a reddish brown. They have pale there is no doubt that they visually hunt for worms by underparts with brown spots, and a buff–colored eye looking for their c
The Flyway Fall 2020 Quarterly newsletter for Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually and Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuges Contents The Miracle of Migration............... 1 On the Wing ......... 3 Fall Migration Arrivals to expect .............. 3 Become a citizen scientist! ............... 4 Nisqually Watershed Virtual Festival 2020: ................... 4 Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges.... 5 Red-tailed Hawk Ramblings............. 6 Friends of Nisqually NWRC................... 7 Save the date! Virtual Nisqually Watershed Festival Sept. 26, 2020 The Miraculous Journey of Migration By Lynn Corliss If you look up at the sky in the fall you may be lucky enough to see a large flock of geese or a hawk migrating south. Migration is a miraculous journey of endurance and strength. Approximately 40% or 4,000 species of birds migrate every year. For some species it is a test of endurance. Those that do complete the journey get a chance to mate and pass on their genes. Giffon vulture was seen at 37,000 feet or over 7 miles above sea level in 1975. Migrating birds will use wind currents and even storms to aid them in their journey. While there are plenty of storms and wind in both the spring and fall, the fall migration is the hardest. Unlike their spring migration where they are traveling from the tropics where food is The most plentiful, extreme in the fall examples of birds have migration are raised seen in some Migratory Cackling Geese, photo by John Whitehead. their young of the most unand do not have as many reserves. likely species of birds. For example, the If that is not enough, birds must also Northern Wheatear, a Eurasian songmolt in order to obtain new feathers in bird, travels 9,000 miles between the preparation for migration. Molting is an Arctic and Africa. The Arctic Tern can energy expensive event. In order to get travel 49,700 miles in a year between enough energy for all this, they go into the Arctic and Antartica. The Bar-tailed a state known as hyperphagia where Godwit can travel 7,000 miles without they gorge themselves with food. After stopping. The snipe, a bulky looking nesting and molting their bodies go bird, flies 4,200 miles and can reach through many changes in preparation flying speeds up to 60 mph. for flight. Not only can birds fly fast and far but Nighttime migrating birds must prepare they can also reach great heights while themselves for being active during both migrating. During most of the year, the day and night during their migramany birds only fly around 500 feet in tion. This happens by changing their elevation. However, while migrating, circadian clock. Normally birds are they will fly around 2,000 to 5,000 feet only active during the day time and are and may even climb to 20,000 feet diurnal. But when they enter a stage into the sky. Bar-headed Geese have of zugunruhe or a state of excitement been known to fly 5 ½ miles over the Himalayan Mountains and the Ruppel’s Continued on next page Migration From previous page (coined by Eberhard Gwinner), they are lengthening their circadian clock in order to be active during the day and the night. When you see birds in this state, you may notice that it looks like they are in a feeding frenzy, flying in large flocks and being more active than normal. This is the energy they tap into in order to be able to migrate at night and be active for longer hours. are stimulated by blue light. When this happens, a radical pair of molecules with unpaired electrons spin and react with the magnetic field. Birds rely on many cues, including their internal compass to make sure they arrive safely at their destination. Hawks, swallows and vultures migrate when there is daylight. At sunrise you might be lucky enough to see a flock of swallows as they rise in a huge column out of the Refuge estuary. As they migrate across the landscape, they travel in a loose flock moving continuously instead of flying back and forth as when they feed. At sunset when they roost for the night, it may look like a colony of bees swarming as they fly up and down until they all settle in for the night. There are benefits to migrating at night. It is safer for smaller species, such as sparrows, flycatchers, warblers and thrushes to migrate at night because there are fewer predators out at night. There is also less Hawks and other raptors wind turbulence, and will migrate individually it is cooler at night for during the day. They fly low migrating. Usually birds in the sky and alternate can rely on land marks between rapid wing beats and stars to guide them Barn Swallow chicks migrate south after only a few short and gliding. Vultures have while migrating, but perfected the efficiency of months at the Refuge. Photo by USFWS with very little light it is gliding and thus using very hard to imagine how they migrate at night. Birds have little energy while flying. Our local Turkey Vultures both magnetite (an iron-based mineral that is magnetic) will gather in large group

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