Some of these critters may be familiar to you. But as the colder months come the
Bay and its rivers and streams, visitors and rarely seen creatures are on the move.
Tundra swans appear in the Bay region
mid November and head to areas in
Maryland, Virginia, and even North
Carolina. Many of them have traveled
1,500 miles or more from the North
Dakota plains, where they spent their fall.
Long-tailed ducks frequent the Bay area
in wintertime, like many other types of
waterfowl. Their insulated feathers protect them from the frigid water here and
in their summer homes in Alaska,
Canada, and Greenland.
One of the few species active during the
cold, muskrats come out most often at
night. When it’s cold out, muskrats focus
on building burrows or lodges. They also
spend their time foraging for food by
digging into the marsh banks.
Becoming a somewhat common site
along the Bay and its rivers and
streams, eagles begin working on
their nests in late fall. The eggs they
lay in early winter will hatch in the
Widely dispersed and living year-round
on the Chesapeake and its rivers and
streams, river otters are typically more
visible during the icy winters. They are
carnivores that eat fish whole and breed
primarily in late winter.
Crabs are cold-blooded animals that
spend most of the winter buried in sand
and mud. Female crabs tend to head to
the southern portion of the Bay and
higher salinity, while the males look for
deeper waters in Maryland and Virginia.