AL: Website Helps Identify Wildlife

Have you ever been outdoors and noticed a bird, snake or some
other critter that you have never seen before and wondered what it
was? The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has
launched a new website where you can go for help in identifying
that animal. At, you will
find information concerning the many amphibians, birds, crayfish,
fish, freshwater jellyfish, mammals, mollusks and reptiles found in
the state, along with at least one picture of the animal and its
current status in Alabama.

The web page heading is called “Watchable Wildlife.” Just what
is watchable wildlife? It is wildlife that can be enjoyed by
viewing. Watching wildlife can begin at any age and is a lifelong
learning experience that anyone can participate in. It can be as
simple as observing a backyard feeder or as adventurous as hiking
one of Alabama’s state parks to see what you can find. Many of the
animals you will see are as common as a redwing blackbird in your
back yard, while some animals, such as wood storks, are less common
and are passing through on their seasonal migrations. Others, such
as the sandhill crane, are so rare that dedicated watchers spend
hours just to catch a glimpse. The watchable wildlife website can
help you identify the animals that you observe, or just help you
learn about exactly what animals exist in Alabama and where you
might be able to go to see them. In addition, the Division of
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries hopes that this website will be a
useful resource for teachers, students, or anyone who just wants to
know a little more about the wildlife here in Alabama.

On the web pages you will enjoy reading about the 73 different
species of amphibians (30 frogs and 43 salamanders), 420 species of
birds, 62 species of mammals, 93 species of reptiles (12 lizards,
49 snakes, 31 turtles and 1 alligator) and over 300 species of
fish. In addition, there is useful information on freshwater
mussels and snails, freshwater jellyfish, and crayfish. Almost all
have at the minimum a picture to use for identification. Most pages
also include the scientific name, description, distribution,
habitat type, feeding habits, life history and ecology. The website
is still a work in progress and information and updates are being
added on a continual basis, so keep checking back if you don’t find
what you are looking for.

We are fortunate to live in a state that is blessed with such a
tremendous amount of natural diversity. Wildlife viewing is a
relaxing experience that provides a reconnection to nature and can
be a fun and inexpensive activity for the entire family to enjoy
together. Spend some time outdoors this summer; you never know what
you might see!


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