Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Moss on Boundary Trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Moonlit main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Elegant spreadwing damselfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Racoon on trail camera near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Northern water snake in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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House wren near Headquarters, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Luna moth male on porch at Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bleeding heart flowering near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Northern cricket frog in Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Fungi on fallen tree on Boundary Trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields, bogs, streams and lakes. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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Beaver Tales from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, February 2021

Refuge sign in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

We are in the middle of winter here at the Refuge and we just had the largest snowfall we've experienced in five years. Although some of our resident animals are out of sight hibernating, others are as active as ever. Canada geese and mallards can be seen (and heard) on Main and Miller Pond. A pair of Eagles have regularly been viewed flying over the ponds and into the surrounding treetops. White-tailed deer and cottontail rabbits are prevalent. Black vultures are often seen flying overhead, and smaller birds scurry through the underbrush. On the first morning after the snowfall, the backyard of Headquarters was very busy with a flurry of birds digging in the snow for worms and seeds. At once we saw cardinals, blue jays, robins, and sparrows, all energetically bustling about, hopping back and forth from the ground and trees; it was quite a sight.

In December and January we were hard at work patrolling the boundaries of the Refuge against intrusion by deer hunters; thankfully the final hunting season ended on January 31st. Although we patrol year-round, with firearm season behind us we will now start to focus more on trail maintenance. If you would like to donate your time by helping us maintain our trails, that help would be greatly appreciated. We are very flexible and can make most any day or time work, just let us know when you are available. Now is the time to get outdoors and get some fresh air, while socially distancing, as we will still have a reprieve from the ticks for a few more months.

Whether you can help with trail maintenance, or if you would simply like to visit, hike our trails and take in the beauty of the Refuge, call 856-697-3541 or email to schedule.

We -- and the wildlife -- are grateful for your continued support.

Contents of this month's newsletter:

Beavers return to Dorset for the first time in 400 years -- Emer Scully
Eurasian beaver; photo Dorset Wildlife Trust/SWNS

"Their construction allows for deep pools of water which offer animals shelter from predators and a place to store food, and turns the surrounding land into a mosaic of nature-rich habitats. Beaver dams, ponds and channels help human communities too - by preventing flooding through slowing, storing and filtering water as it flows downstream."
Tallahassee beaver's misadventures end with a bubble bath -- Sandy Beck
Beaver receiving bath; photo Nicholas Petryk/St. Francis Wildlife/FL

"Recently, St. Francis Wildlife was called to rescue a small, adult beaver that had gotten stuck in a storm water treatment facility. The Tallahassee Fire Department, Tallahassee Animal Control and a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy also arrived to offer back-up if needed. Yes, this is a town of animal lovers."