eBird Hotspots Where to Go Birding

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge–Headquarters Vicinity and Discovery Trail

Birding in Vermont

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Important Bird Area

Swanton, Vermont 05488
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge webpage
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge brochure and map
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge map
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge (Audubon IBA) webpage

Also, see Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge

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Franklin County

Missisquoi NWR–headquarters Vicinity / Discovery Trail
Coordinates: 44.9644184, -73.2005846
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Tips for birding the Discovery Trail
From Louieā€™s Landing parking lot, turn right onto Route 78. Drive about 2 miles west to Tabor Road, which crosses the railroad tracks to the left. The MNWR headquarters building is a short distance on the left. Restroom facilities are available in the building when open. Cliff Swallows have nested under the eaves of the headquarters building in 2008 and 2009. The Discovery Trail begins right behind the headquarters. It is about a half-mile loop that starts and ends in grasslands where Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows, and other grassland birds can be found. It then proceeds on boardwalks through hardwood forest, much of which floods in the spring. Several species of warblers can be found here, including Northern Waterthrush, as well as Pileated Woodpeckers.
From Ken Copenhaven, Green Mountain Audubon

About Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds. It consists of 6,729 acres, mostly wetland habitats, which support a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. The 900-acre Maquam bog is designated as a Research Natural Area and the refuge was designated as an Important Bird Area in partnership with the Audubon Society. The Refuge in partnership with other publicly owned (State of Vermont) lands has been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. A mosaic of wetland habitats offers opportunities to see and manage more than 200 species of birds. Fall migration features 20,000-25,000 migrating ducks. Nesting bald eagles, osprey, and a great blue heron colony numbering more than 300 nests are present on the refuge. Please note that most public use is permitted only on designated trails or along the Missisquoi River. Please consult the refuge office for areas that are closed to public use to protect sensitive wildlife and habitat.
From Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge webpage

About Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Important Bird Area
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is located in Swanton where the Missisquoi River joins Lake Champlain, forming one of the largest wetland complexes in the state. Mississquoi combines extensive bottomland and grassland habitat with a number of wetland community types. Management practices such as the creation of impoundments have provided critical habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl as well as a number of state-listed species. Vermont Natural Community types include Lakeside Floodplain Forest, Red or Silver Maple-Green Ash Swamp, Cattail, Deep Broadleaf, and Deep Bulrush marshes, Buttonbush Swamp, and Pitch Pine Woodland Bog.

Missisquoi’s size and location on Lake Champlain make it an ideal migratory stopover for a number of waterfowl species including Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, and Wood Duck. Breeding species include all of the above (with the exception of Ring-necked Duck) as well as Green and Blue-winged teal, Hooded Merganser, and Common Goldeneye. More than a third of the state-endangered Osprey population breeds here as well as the entire population of state threatened Black Tern. Missisquoi is also home to the largest Great Blue Heron (S1) colony in the state. Virginia Rail, Common Moorhen (S2), Sora (S2), and Pied-billed Grebe (S2) can also be found in the refuge’s extensive marshes.

Missisquoi is owned and managed by the federal government. Annual monitoring of waterfowl, Osprey, Black Tern, marshbirds, and grassland birds is ongoing. Conservation issues include invasive species such as purple loosestrife, Eurasian milfoil, and zebra mussels as well as agricultural run-off from farms upstream. A new headquarters is planned in the coming years.
From Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge (Audubon IBA) webpage