Gettysburg NMP is more than just battlefields and monuments. Its large size and variety of habitats allow many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians to call the park home. While walking through the 1,900 acres of maturing woodlands and woodlots visitors have the potential to observe a variety of species ranging from the common white-tailed deer to the less prominent black-throated blue warbler.
The 2,300 acres of pasturelands and farmlands provide an open-upland habitat. The open landscapes host many of the same species found in the forested areas, however the open fields provide a specialized niche for many birds and insects. Visitors may observe a red-winged blackbird resting on a fence post or butterflies such as the monarch and the painted lady drifting from flower to flower feeding on nectar plants. While maintaining the speed limit it is also possible to observe a red fox in the open fields.
Through studies conducted in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State University, a complete inventory of amphibian and reptile species has been documented. If patient a visitor may have the opportunity to observe a northern two-lined salamander in one of the riparian areas or a spotted turtle in the shallow areas of one of the park’s streams.
Gettysburg NMP is also a home or stopover point for several federally and state-listed endangered, threatened, or candidate species. Threatened bird species such as ospreys and federally endangered bald eagles have been observed soaring in the skies over the battlefields. National Park Service staff mist netting has confirmed the presence of a candidate species of bat, Northern myotis, within the park.