Upon entering the preserve, you will discover a facility for wild animals that are permanently injured and require human care to survive. These animals have become educational ambassadors, teaching the public and school groups about native species and how people can help protect wildlife. The original Outdoor Wildlife Complex was built in 1976, restored in 1995 and is currently the home of hawks, owls, foxes and more.
In addition to the Outdoor Wildlife Complex, there are a variety of exhibits and animals inside the Charles Banks Belt Nature Center, a beautiful place to encounter a variety of reptiles, freshwater turtles, large insects, and chinchillas. Our Giant African Spurred Tortoises have outgrown their original homes, and are housed in our large Greenhouse. The animals in the Outdoor Wildlife Complex can be visited every day from sunrise to sunset. The animals in the Nature Center Building can be visited Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 AM. – 4:00 PM. (Please note the Nature Center Building is temporarily closed due to Covid.)
Read on to meet the some of the resident animals of the Refuge.
Resident Animals in the Outdoor Wildlife Complex
The Barred Owl came to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge as a juvenile from the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center in March of 2014. He was hit by a car and sustained a fractured humerus, which is mostly healed. The Refuge is his permanent home because he is partially blind and therefore is not able to fly or hunt properly. This owl can often be seen perched on one of the tree branches in his cage, if you are lucky you might get a chance to see his beautiful brown eyes!
This Cooper’s Hawk sustained an injury to its right wing from an unknown cause. Although the humerus was treated, the wing remains incapable of fully extending during flight; therefore, this hawk is non-releasable. He is a shy bird and gets nervous around people and loud noises, always remember to use quiet and calm voices around the animal enclosures!
These two owls came from STAR (Save the Animals Rescue) foundation in Middle Island. One owl has an injured wing, and the other is blind in one eye. Both of them were injured as adults, so we are unsure of their age. The Eastern Screech Owl is one of the smallest owls in North America, so even though they are small they are actually fully grown. The screech owl is usually only active at night, so if you don’t see them during your visit they might be sleeping inside of a hollowed out log, or nestled in their owl houses.
This Great Horned Owl “Hooter” came to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in 2004 from the Queens College Center. This owl was raised by humans and became imprinted, which is why he cannot be released into the wild. He is very comfortable around people, and is over twenty years old. Ripley the GHO came to the Refuge in 2017 from the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center and has a permanent wing injury rendering it non-releasable.
Quincey the Quogue Groundhog (woodchuck) came to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in November 2019 from Volunteers for Wildlife, where he was rehabilitated after a serious jaw injury. He was very young during his rehabilitation and as a result of repeated contact with humans, he became imprinted. Unfortunately, Quincey’s jaw could not be fully realigned, and he must remain at the Refuge so that his teeth may be filed periodically. If he did not have this care they would continue to grow, eventually preventing him from eating. This groundhog is very friendly and LOVES to snack on veggies, his favorite treats are carrots and broccoli but he mainly eats leafy greens.
“Carson” the red fox has called the Refuge home since 2017. He was was illegally raised in captivity and became too accustomed to human interaction; therefore he cannot be released into the wild. Originally from the STAR Foundation, this fox lived several years at the Center for Science, Teaching and Learning before becoming a permanent resident of QWR. Look for him atop his favorite ledge.
The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common broad winged hawk in North America, and the refuge has a male hawk in residence. In December 2008 the pale-breasted Red-tailed Hawk, “Pale-Male” was brought to North Fork Animal Hospital with a broken left wing, and subsequently, to the Refuge. This bird also had a leather jess on one foot, which indicates that he may have been a falconer’s bird.
Both turkeys in this enclosure came to QWR from the Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays. The first turkey was found as a fledgling on Montauk Highway in East Quogue with a left humeral fracture. She has been deemed non-releasable due to her difficulty walking, but she is still able to fly. The turkey that arrived later in 2017 was struck by a car and now has permanent eyesight loss due to head trauma; therefore she must remain under the care of humans. Did you know that wild turkeys are capable of running at speeds up to 25 mph and flying up to 55 mph?
The Refuge houses four African Spurred Tortoises (Rigga, Mortis, Cactus and Spike), one Red Footed Tortoise (Red Foot) and one Yellow Footed Tortoise (Melon) in our new greenhouse facility at the Refuge. Head on over to the Greenhouse and Butterfly Garden page to learn more about these interesting animals.
Our Nature Center Resident Animals
Our male and female bearded dragons, Crypto and Georgia, are native to Australia! Bearded Dragons are accustomed to hot scrubland, woodland, and desert areas. Their tails are almost half of their body length, and they can grow up to 2 feet long! Bearded Dragons are able to store heat, and the colors of their bodies subtly change depending on their mood and temperature. They are omnivores, and eat a variety of things from fresh fruit to live crickets. If you are lucky you may see Crypto engaging in a territorial dance for his lady!
Nugget, born in 2008, was brought to the Refuge in Spring of 2013, because his owner was moving and unable to keep him. McNugget was born on August 3, 2013 to mommy Paco and daddy Nugget. Chinchillas are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. This is why our chinchillas can usually be found napping. Chinchillas do not bathe in water, but instead clean themselves by rolling in volcanic ash.
This corn snake was given to the Refuge by a visitor who could no longer care for him as a pet, and is over 15 years old. Corn snakes live in a variety of habitats and are native throughout the southeastern and central U.S., and Mexico. There are a few theories on how the corn snake obtained its name: one is because it hunts for mice in corn fields, another is for the ‘Indian Corn’ pattern on its underside.