Duke Farms has been open to the public for 5 years! To celebrate this milestone, we’re taking a few moments over the next few weeks to celebrate 5 things that make our 5 years great.
Today we’re looking at 5 species that benefit from our robust habitat restoration program.
Mayapple is a spring ephemeral in our woodland habitats. Prior to our restoration program, virtually none existed due to heavy deer browse and competition from invasive species. Mayapple produces fruits which are eaten and seeds dispersed by box turtles and small mammals.
This is also an early spring bloomer with, white lacelike blooms that provide nectar for pollinators. In autumn, black fruits mature and provide a very important food source for migrating birds.
Restoration of our lakes, rivers and riparian areas made our property attractive to a nesting pair of bald eagles since 2004. Even after the original nest tree was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, they chose to continue to nest nearby at Duke Farms… a testament to our high-quality habitats.
American Kestrels prefer grasslands and nest in tree cavities and nest boxes adjacent to those habitats. They also use this habitat to hunt prey such as mice and voles. Our well-maintained grasslands are wonderful foraging and nesting habitats.
North American river otters by Dmitry Azovtsev Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://www.daphoto.info/en/
North American River otters, prey upon fish, salamanders and frogs. River otter numbers have been reduced by habitat loss and are impacted by pollution. At Duke Farms, they thrive due to wonderful, clean aquatic habitats with many food resources.