animals in the hudson highlands
Common Green Darner dragonfly
The Hudson Valley provides "home to more than 2,000 different kinds of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians," notes New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The banks of the Hudson River provide great vantage points for watching Bald Eagles. And, bird-watchers find scores of other types of migratory birds to view in this area. "The Hudson Valley is especially important for turtles, ranking among the top four river drainages in the world for turtle species richness," says the NYSDEC. While this page discusses the five classes of vertebrates, the Hudson Valley is also noted for invertebrate insects. "More species of dragonflies and damselflies are found in the Hudson Valley than almost anywhere else in the nation," notes the NYSDEC.
Amphibians are ectotherms, or cold-blooded creatures. They live on land and in water, and have thin, moist skin that helps them breathe. Amphibians that live nearby, within the Garrison School Forest, the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, and Fahnestock State Park, include: Jefferson Salamanders, Marbled Salamanders, Northern Redback Salamanders, Spotted Salamanders, Bull Frogs, Gray Tree Frogs, Northern Leopard Frogs, Northern Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs, Eastern American Toads, and Fowler's Toads.
View an amphibian identification guide.
Mammals are warm-blooded creatures that have three middle ear bones, grow hair, and produce milk from mammary glands for their offspring. Mammals that live nearby, within the Garrison School Forest, the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, and Fahnestock State Park, include: several types of bats, Black Bears, Bobcats, Coyotes, Eastern Chipmunks, Eastern Cottontail rabbits, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Gray Foxes, mice, Opossum, Raccoons, shrews, Striped Skunks, White-Tailed Deer, and Woodchucks.
View a poster of common mammals of New York.
Learn more about specific mammals.
Visit the the Trailside Museums & Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park and the Wildlife Education Center at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall-on-Hudson to learn more about Hudson Highlands mammals.
Birds are vertebrates with feathers. Most birds fly, but several types do not fly. Birds feature: horny beaks without teeth, large muscular stomachs, strong skeletons, and large yolked, hard-shelled eggs. In the Hudson Highlands, there are swimming birds, wading birds, perching birds of wetland habitats, and wide-ranging river birds.
New York State and the National Audubon Society have designated Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks as Important Bird Areas. A wide variety of birds live nearby, including winter birds that live here all year, and migratory birds that live here only during the warm months.
Local environmental educator Pete Salmansohn works with the Cornell Ornithology Lab and Audubon Project Puffin. Salmansohn says that winter birds include: red-tailed hawks, downy woodpeckers, red bellied
woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, song sparrows, crows, turkey vultures, goldfinches, house finches, blue jays, and barred owls. The migrants include all of the warblers, vireos, hummingbirds, catbirds, and thrushes. Ducks and geese are also migratory birds. Shorebirds, including killdeer, sandpipers, egrets, herons, and bitterns, migrate, too.
The Cornell Ornithology Lab provides All About Birds, an online guide to birds and birdwatching. Learn to identify bird feathers by using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Feather Atlas. Explore the Cornell Lab's Macaulay Library, the world's largest archive of audio recordings and videos of birds. And, learn about bird migration from the Cornell Lab and from the Migration page within this website.
The Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary and the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society will be glad to teach you about birds in our area. If you're interested in birdwatching, print and use the Bird Checklist from the Hudson River Birding Trail.
Fish live in water. They breathe with gills, swim with fins, have scales covering their bodies, and generally hatch from eggs. More than 200 species of fishes have been found in the Hudson River. Fishes found in our area include: Sunfish, Black bass, Yellow perch, Atlantic Sturgeon, American shad, Alewife, Winter flounder, White catfish, Striped bass, minnows, and killifish. The Migration page of this website describes migratory fishes, including the American eel, which makes a three-year journey to the Hudson River after its birth in the Sargasso Sea. And then, about 30 years later, the adult American eel swims back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn!
The NYSDEC offers a gallery of freshwater fish that live in our area.
Reptiles are the only animals that have the following three traits: they're ectothermic, or cold-blooded; they're covered with a sheet of scales; and they produce young that look like adults. Reptiles that live nearby, within the Garrison School Forest, the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, and Fahnestock State Park, include: Box Turtles, Common Snapping Turtles, Eastern Box Turtles, Eastern Milk Snakes, Northern Black Racer snakes, Northern Fence Lizards, and Timber Rattle Snakes.
Learn about lizards of New York.
Learn about snakes of New York.
Learn about turtles of New York.
Learn more about specific reptiles.