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10 Amazing Critters and Plants that Call our Wetlands Home


Wetlands are vital ecosystems that include marshes, ponds, low-lying ground near the edge of a lake or ocean or the edge of a river, lake or ocean. They sustain many birds, mammals, fish and more.

Here are 10 amazing critters and plants that call local wetlands home.

  American Black Duck

1. For the first 2-3 weeks of life, American Black Ducklings eat only mosquito larvae and other small marsh invertebrates such as water boatman.


2. Leeches have suckers on both ends of their body that not only helps them attach to their blood meal but allows them to colonize distant ponds as they stay attached to their waterfowl host during flight.

  Marsh Hawk

3.Northern Harrier or Marsh hawk doesn’t nest in tall trees or cliff ledges like most raptors but prefers to stay “close to the fridge”.  It builds its nest on the ground, hidden in shrubs or reeds near the edge of the marsh where it hunts for small rodents and birds.

  American Bittern

4.The American Bittern also goes by the name “Thunder-Pump” as its vocalizations sounds very unbird-like, instead resembling the noise made by a water pump sucking up mud.


5. Osprey are typically only successful in their spectacular high speed dives for fish 4 out of 5 times. 

  Wood Duck

6. Wood Ducks are one of the most colourful waterfowl in our marshes.  True to their name, they nest in tree cavities excavated by pileated woodpeckers. Part of the latin name for the wood duck (sponsa) means “betrothed” referring to the males obvious colourful wedding attire.

  Snapping Turtle

7. Snapping turtles  are the scavengers of the marsh, eating pretty much all it comes across including young ducks, muskrats as well as frogs, fish and even aquatic vegetation.

  May Fly

8. Mayflies in the early summer perform the ultimate “dance off” with their partner over the wetland waters during calm evenings.  Within hours of this swarming dance, the adults die, but not before the females deposit their eggs in the shallows of the marsh.

9. Cattail roots are an important food sources for a number of wetland fauna, especially the muskrat, who also use the stems and leaves to create their waterside homes.

  Furbish Lousewort

10. Did you know Furbish's Lousewort is a plant only found in Maine and New Brunswick, and only along the St. John River? Our Unique Areas Program has nine large sites protecting Furbish's Lousewort and it's habitat. The sites encompass 457 acres along the upper St. John River.

In this voluntary conservation work, we are pleased to work with incredible partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited, Natural Resources Canada, Carleton University and Environment, Climate Change Canada, University of New Brunswick, Quality Deer Management Association, Maine In Land Fish and Wildlife, CAST (Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow), Cooke Aquaculture, Northern Deer Research Partner, CFRU (Cooperative Forestry Research Unit), Gulf of Maine Research Institute, University of Maine, MSA (Miramichi Salmon Association), Université Laval, University of New Brunswick.

Interested in learning more about wetland habitat?  Check out the free programs at the Irving Nature Park and the Irving Eco-Centre La Dune de Bouctouche.