Northern Wisconsin is covered by forests of northern hardwoods mixed with conifers. Around the beginning of the 20th century, young pioneer species of hardwoods replaced the stands of white pines destroyed by logging in the 19th century. The aspen and birch are the two most common trees in these second-growth forests, with sugar maple (the state tree) also appearing. Other trees in the northern forests are the white pine, red pine, jack pine, basswood, spruce, hemlock, and red maple. Shrubs of the area include the blueberry, raspberry, beaked hazel, chokecherry, bog rosemary, and red-berried elder.
The hardwood forests of southern Wisconsin are dominated by red and white oaks, hickories, maples, and basswoods. Beeches occur in the extreme east of the state. Characteristic shrubs in the southern forests are the chokecherry, dogwood, Juneberry, poison ivy, staghorn sumac, and prickly ash.
Wisconsin’s animal populations have endured many changes in the past century. The black bear, which had grown scarce by the 1980s as a result of hunting, is once again thriving in Wisconsin, and the resident population of timber wolves was removed from the state’s endangered list in 2004. The Canada lynx, a visitor to northern Wisconsin, is on the list of threatened species. Elk have been reintroduced to the northwestern portion of the state, as has the American marten in the northern forested areas.
Among the mammals found throughout Wisconsin are the white-tailed deer, muskrat, woodchuck, red fox, coyote, skunk, raccoon, mink, otter, beaver, cottontail, flying squirrel, and gray squirrel. Mammals found in some parts of Wisconsin include the badger, opossum, gray fox, porcupine, and snowshoe hare.
Wisconsin lies on the Mississippi Flyway, one of the migratory paths followed by millions of birds each spring and fall. Among the waterfowl commonly seen in Wisconsin during the migrations are Canada geese and several species of wild ducks. Horicon Marsh, in south central Wisconsin, is a major stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Upland game birds include the ring-necked pheasant, Hungarian partridge, sharp-tailed grouse, bobwhite, ruffed grouse, and woodcock. Hawks and owls are common, and wild turkeys have made a remarkable comeback in recent years. The Wisconsin River is known for its sizable population of bald eagles. Songbirds include the robin, the state bird, and juncos, house finches, English sparrows, nuthatches, cardinals, blue jays, bluebirds, tufted titmice, red-winged blackbirds, western meadowlarks, and prothonotary warblers. Also found in the state are flickers; hairy, downy, and red-headed woodpeckers; yellow-bellied sapsuckers; crows; and ravens. The cedar waxwing summers in the state.
Among the popular game fish are the muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, lake trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, bullhead, and crappie. The lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon were once abundant in the Great Lakes region but today have become quite rare except in Wisconsin and Michigan waters. The true paddlefish, once common in Wisconsin, is now protected. "Wisconsin" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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