Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge includes about 50,000 acres of marshes, woods, and water. Lake Mattamuskeet is 18 miles long, seven miles wide, and a swan’s neck deep.
The U. S. Government purchased the lake property in October of 1934 to create a migratory bird refuge. Since then, the U. S. Department of Interior has expanded the mission of the refuge to include all types of wildlife. More than 800 species of wildlife and birds are found on the refuge during part or all of each year.
In the winter months, thousands of Tundra Swans, Canada and Snow Geese, pintails, black ducks, and mallards are seen on the lake, as well as less numerous species of waterfowl. Osprey nest in low Cypress trees near the water’s edge, and it is not unusual to see a Bald Eagle circling overhead or resting in a tree a safe distance from human traffic. Of the 800 species mentioned above, there are more than 200 species of birds around Lake Mattamuskeet for part or all of each year.