• A group of Monarch butterflies come to roost on a pine tree branch.
    Monarch Butterflies

    Monarch butterflies can fill the sky over Fire Island on fall migration. Learn more about these fascinating creatures.

  • A horseshoe crab upside down on the beach.
    Horseshoe Crabs

    Learn more about these fascinating creatures and the citizen scientists who help survey them.

  • A small barn swallow stands perched on a rope near water.

    Learn more about birds on Fire Island.

  • A fisherman surf-casts in front of a setting sun.
    Fishing on Fire Island

    Learn more about fishing on Fire Island.

  • An adult piping plover, a small shorebird, stands on a sandy beach.
    Piping Plover

    Learn more about this migratory shorebird which nests on Fire Island, and how the National Park Service is working to protect it.

  • A large seal rests on shore near the waves.
    Marine Mammals

    Nineteen species of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, and seals, have been recorded at Fire Island National Seashore. Learn more!

  • Sea shells scattered about an ocean beach.

    Evidence of life beneath the surface of the sea can be found on Fire Island. Learn more about shellfish like scallops, clams, and mussels.

  • A red fox looks up at the camera from behind a small poison ivy leaf.

    White-tailed deer, red fox, and rabbits - oh my! Find out which mammals make their home on Fire Island.

  • An orange and green box turtle shell can be seen among green grass.

    Discover the range of reptiles on Fire Island and at the William Floyd Estate.


See the Seashore's Wild Side

Fire Island National Seashore provides diverse marine and terrestrial habitats that support a wide variety of wildlife. Every season is a good season to view Fire Island wildlife and you may be able to observe many of these animals during your excursion in the park. Some animals are seldom seen but are vital components of a healthy natural ecosystem.

One of the most exciting times to view wildlife on Fire Island is during migration. In September and October, thousands of birds and monarchs make a temporary home on the barrier beach as they rest and refuel along their southbound journey. Fire Island's sandy shores, thicket, forest, and marsh provide diverse habitat for these travelers, and the island's place along the Atlantic Flyway make it an attractive stopover for more than one-third of North America's bird species.

In winter, you may see snowy owls scanning open habitat for their small mammal prey or encounter seals hauled out on the beach. Red fox and white-tailed deer can also be observed year-round.

Whether you come to see land animals or marvel at marine life, please do so from a safe distance and help keep wildlife wild.

Last updated: September 26, 2020

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