Vermont's Watchable Wildlife

Baltimore Oriole

Somewhere in the Green Mountains, a fox sits with pricked ears on a ridge. An eagle soars overhead. In the distance, a moose snorts. Bees buzz. Bears roam. Flowers bloom. Fish furtively gulp at midges on the water’s surface. And all you have to do to enjoy it all is stop, look, and listen.

Vermont may be a vacation playland. But it’s also home to a wide range of wildlife, thanks to the recovery of our forests over the past hundred years. Consider this: by the 1890s, farmers had cleared much of the forests; trees covered only about a quarter of Vermont. Today, more than 75 percent of Vermont is forested. So it’s no surprise that this is a great place to observe nature in action. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont has the nation’s highest participation rate of “wildlife watching.”

Around here, connecting with nature isn’t difficult and it comes, well, quite naturally. You can do it by simply going bird watching, hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, or on a photograph safari.

According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, there are no less than 84 wildlife management areas throughout the state. You can download detailed maps of these areas, complete with trails and topography at the department’s web site,

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge attracts large flocks of migratory birds to its quiet waters and wetlands. Here on the shores of northern Lake Champlain, you’re likely to see an abundance of waterfowl, such as mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, snow geese, and more.

While you’re out enjoying nature in Vermont, remember these tips:

  • Don’t feed the deer or other game animals. Although well intentioned, feeding deer, turkeys, or bears is actually bad for them.
  • Don’t use lead fishing sinkers. Lead sinkers are deadly to loons and waterfowl.
  • Leave nature as you find it. Don’t even carry bait or bucket water from one waterway to another. This can lead to the invasion of non-native species.
  • Control your pets.
  • Stay on designated hiking trails.
  • Always be careful with campfires.
  • Most of all, get out and enjoy the outdoors!

Thanks for helping keep Vermont a haven for wildlife and wildlife lovers.

Photo credit: © Bryan Pfeiffer / Vermont Bird Tours

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