Exploring Long Island’s Unique Wildlife Preserves

Long Island has a rich and diverse population of wildlife and is home to some great wildlife preserves where you can enjoy the wonders of nature without venturing too far from home. Here are some peaceful places on our wonderful island where you and your family can experience nature this summer without traveling too far or spending too much.

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Created in 1934, this 305-acre refuge was one of the first wildlife preserves established on Long Island. More than 180 species of birds have been observed on its grounds, which include seven miles of hiking trails and a wildlife center where injured animals — including owls, falcons, and foxes — are rehabilitated. The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is open daily, year-round, from sunrise to sunset; admission is free. For more info on the Refuge, including handy directions for getting there, visit: https://quoguewildliferefuge.org/visit/

The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley

The land for the Werthheim National Wildlife Refuge — in the town of Shirley — was donated in 1947 by investment banker and environmentalist Maurice Wertheim. More than 300 bird species have been seen on its grounds, along with white-tailed deer, muskrat, fox, turtles, frogs and fish. The refuge — open year-round to the public for a nominal $5 admission fee — is part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which spans over 6,200 acres in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Most of these refuges were acquired under authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 for “use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purposes, for migratory birds.” For more information, go to: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/wertheim

The Tackapausha Preserve in Seaford

Seaford is a busy place, but tucked within it is the Tackapausha Preserve, a quiet, narrow 84-acre sanctuary of oak forests, ponds, streams, small mammals, and scores of bird species, all of which can be easily viewed via five miles of marked trails. The preserve — created in 1938 — incorporates a 3,000-square-foot museum with displays about the ecology of Long Island, as well as animal exhibits and shows and interactive activities for kids. Like the Wertheim preserve, the public can enter for a nominal $5 admission fee. For more info, go to: https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/2951/Tackapausha-Museum-and-Preserve

The Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Oyster Bay

President Teddy Roosevelt was an ardent conservationist, so it’s fitting that this 15-acre songbird sanctuary bears his name and is adjacent to his gravesite. Home to more than 125 species of birds, including 19 non-releasable birds of prey, this refuge is open to the public, year-round, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 10 AM to 4 PM, and on weekends from 10 AM to 1 PM. For more info, go to: https://ny.audubon.org/TRSAC

Virtual Nature: The Long Island Aquarium Shark cam!

Sharks have been making a huge comeback around the South Shore of Long Island in the past several years (which is a good reason to exercise caution while in the surf). However Riverhead’s Long Island Aquarium gives you a perfectly safe way to remotely enjoy some of these majestic, intriguing creatures (accompanied by some relaxing music) via its virtual Shark Cam, which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHRJVam9_D8

Virtual Nature: Ospreys in Oyster Bay and Patchogue

Not so keen on watching the sharks? PSEG — Long Island’s utility company — has thoughtfully outfitted two of its power distribution poles with bird-safe nesting platforms and hi-def cameras that give you an intimate view of two busy osprey nests, one in Oyster Bay, the other in Patchogue. The Oyster Bay Osprey Cam is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzW9-t5bYJE; the one in Patchogue is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNzUffwpFr0

Whatever natural wonders you choose to visit this summer, we at Maidenbaum hope you enjoy, and maybe we’ll see you there!