Animals and Wildlife Of Long Island - Master Naturalists
Delve into the wildlife groups of Long Island with an overview of birds and mammals of Long Island, including their life cycles, habitats, and natural history. Will will also consider how coyote, turkey, bobwhite quail and other species are returning to Long Island, and the mechanisms for their reintroductions.
Introduction To Observing Wildlife
Become an observer and pay attention when looking out your window, walking outdoors, swimming, or exploring a park. For more intentional viewing, continue develop an understanding of animal behavior and their life cycles. When do they mate and breed? What habitats are they most likely found in?
Migratory cycles refer to annual or seasonal movements by birds, butterflies, whales, and others, taking advantage of summer breeding and overwintering locations. Do they stay through the winter? Do they hibernate in a dormant state during the winter, or are they actively seeking food during cold winter days?
Another important step is to learn how to identify wildlife. You can use photo identification apps, but handheld field guides help you realize key differences from species to species, and across habitats.
A Season Full of Wildlife
Birds & Mammals
Are you just beginning to be curious about birds? Or are you looking for teacher training? Master Naturalists has designed a program just for you. It will help you get started.
It is critical to protect birds from excessive human activity ( climate change, habitat loss, cat predation). For example, shoreline nesting birds are declining as due to beach stabilization efforts. Birds rely on different kinds of habitats (fields, woods, beaches, etc) for different purposes. When certain habitats are on decline in quality or abundance, the associated bird species requiring these habitats also declines.
With declining fields, meadows, and grasslands, many Long Island birds populations are on the decline. This is at the heart of bird conservation, not only protecting bird populations from over consumption, but also protecting enough open space and greenway corridors to maintain population viability.
Another example is the Northern Bobwhite Quail. These birds require a diversity of habitats, which may sound like they are generalists, but actually they require differing habitats for different purposes (breeding, feeding, cover, etc).
For all the time we spend along the coastline, how many of us are privy to the marine mammals that live in neighboring waters? And did you know that increasing whale populations also one of the many nature based solutions to climate change? Pictured on the right, is a breaching humpback whale, taken by Artie Kopelman, CRESLI President, who has answers for many of the questions we may ask:
Photography by Artie Kopelman, President of CRESLI
Additional Resources for Birds & Mammals
- Coyotes. Department of Environmental Conservation
- Deer Protection and Management Advisory Committee and its Deer Protection Plan (Town of Southampton)
- Long Island Deer Management - help better manage the Whitetail Deer population on Long Island
- Fall Turkey Count by County. Department of Environmental Conservation
- Hunting on Long Island. Department of Environmental Conservation
- Mammal Checklist
Amphibians, Insects, Snakes, Macroinvertabrates, Eels
Macroinvertabrates can be seen with the naked eye and they have no backbone
When can I observe box turtles ?
This quick reference chart is based on habitat use in Massachusetts. Source: Mass.gov: Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern Tiger Salamanders
Where can I observe Eastern Tiger Salamanders?
Ask the experts at SOFO, where they conduct conduct mud turtle/frog and salamander surveys each year during their breeding season.
Photography: South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center (SOFO).