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Waterways as Habitat

Short-eared Owls of the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area – Photo by Laurie LaFond provided courtesy of Friends of the IBA

Cutting like a dagger between northern New York and New England, the waterway linking the Hudson River with Canada offered a straight path for migration long before humans paddled these waters. Geese and ducks of all varieties fly this way twice a year, stopping in lush wetlands to rest and feed until the winds blow their way again. Songbirds travel the same route, a little later in the spring and earlier in the fall, hiding in the shelter of brushy shorelines. Monarch butterflies come north to feast on milkweed while they breed. The deep, cold waters of Lake Champlain harbor bass, pike and other favorite fish, but everyone's favorite creature is the mythical Champlain monster, "Champ."

Wildlife management areas protect habitat for animals that stay through the winter as well as the migrants. Bald eagles, osprey and many species of hawk find ample food in the lakes and fields. Fish hatcheries raise trout to stock the rivers and streams. An abundance of wild turkeys, grouse and deer make this a hunter's paradise.