Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is an oasis for the urban wildlife that call this area home. Preserving or creating habitats on the property provides a wide variety of food opportunities, as well as living space for our wildlife. Management techniques are implemented to improve the diversity of habitats, including:
- leaving fallen trees on the ground and letting dead snags remain standing throughout the property
- adding basking platforms for turtles
- providing bat and wood duck houses
- promoting native plant species
Visitors are often surprised at the amount of wildlife they see during a walk on our trails. White-tailed deer are the most common animal seen. Visitors often see various turtles, snakes, groundhogs, muskrats, raccoons, and more than 160 species of birds on the Reserve. It may surprise you to know Heckrodt has a stable population of opossums, mink, and river otters – they are secretive and not often seen.
Spring baby season is an exciting time at the Reserve. Great Horned Owls and Barred Owls nest on the Reserve and the owlets provide lots of interest to visitors. White-tailed deer fawns are also born on the Reserve in May and are often seen throughout the summer as they grow. Many species of migrating songbirds can be found spring thru fall utilizing the different habitats found here. Frog species can be heard in the wetlands as the season goes by starting with wood frogs soon after the snow melts. During the summer and fall, bees and many other insects and pollinators can be seen on the wildflowers. Fall is always busy with birds getting ready to migrate south and animals collecting food for the winter months. Winter would be considered the quiet season but coming to the Reserve you are sure to see fresh animal tracks of opossum, raccoon, and white-tailed deer. It is also a great time to see many of our year-round bird species, like cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.
Visitors should remain on the trail and never touch or crowd our wildlife. Quiet respect will help ensure that these animals will be here for the future.