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A wildlife trip down the mighty Missisquoi River - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A wildlife trip down the mighty Missisquoi River

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SWANTON, Vt. -

To really appreciate the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, you need to get into the water. Wildlife biologist Judy Sefchick-Edwards guided reporter Judy Simpson down the mighty Missisquoi River.

Simpson: About how far is that?

Sefchick-Edwards: We are going to be going about 7 miles today where it empties into Missisquoi Bay.

There are many things that make the 1,000 acre refuge special, including the state's largest Silver Maple Flood Plain forest which is home to many species of birds.

Simpson: Osprey, this once would have been a rare sight?

Sefchick-Edwards: Yes, in 1989 we had one nest at the refuge and today we have 44 nests on the refuge so they have really come a long way.

This wetland is also home to Vermont's largest Blue Heron rookery.

"The Herons have been nesting in this rookery for 70 plus years so it is a traditional nesting spot for them that they come back to every year. The variety of food here is also what makes it a great place," said Sefchick-Edwards.

There is a large supply of fish, frogs and crawfish, but there are also people. Many who share this refuge with the flora and fauna and that can present a problem.

There are signs out warning boaters to stay away from the nesting areas, if the birds are frightened and fly away from the nests, even for a few minutes, the results can be devastating.

"If you are getting adult birds off their nests when they have eggs or chicks, even ten minutes can really be devastating because if it is hot like it is today the chicks or eggs could heat up to a point where they may not survive that," said Sefchick-Edwards.

Conversly Sefchick- Edwards says the same thing could happen in cold damp weather as well.

And there are now some new residents here. Two nesting pairs of bald eagles with a massive nest is home to a large chick.

"The parents are around chances are they could be fishing and gettitng some food for the young they could just be resting on top of a treetop," said Sefchick-Edwards.

The refuge is keeping the location of the eagle nests a secret and if the chicks survive the eagles will be back to nest again next year, adding to the diversity of this natural wonderland.

Wildlife viewing opportunities are available throughout the year. Click here for a link to the refuge. 

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