Almost all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that are common in the northeastern United States are found in New York. Native mammals include skunk, raccoon, striped gray squirrel, red and gray fox, Virginia opossum, eastern chipmunk, eastern cottontail, varieties of hare, woodchuck, three species of weasel, mink, and American (or pine) marten. Eastern coyote, bobcat, river otter, beaver, muskrat, and porcupine are found in many parts of the state, while small rodents, such as mice and voles, and insectivores, such as the shrew and mole, are abundant. Northern and southern flying squirrel are residents of the state, as are eight species of bat. The black bear is still found in forested and upland areas, and moose are common in the north, while the white-tailed deer appears everywhere in the state except for the city boroughs.
The marine waters around New York City and Long Island are the habitat of whales, several species of dolphins, and five species of seals.
Amphibians include salamanders, frogs, and toads. Of the reptiles found in the state, there are 3 species of lizards, 14 species of freshwater turtles, 5 species of sea turtles, and 14 species of harmless snakes. Of the venomous the timber rattlesnake is a threatened species and is fully protected under New York’s Environmental Conservation Law. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake, sometimes erroneously called the “pygmy,” is in even greater danger of extinction and is listed as an endangered species. The copperhead of southeastern New York is an unprotected snake, and is less venomous than the other two. Birdlife is abundant, and game birds of northeastern North America that migrate through New York or reside in the state are the ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mallard and many other species of ducks, and Canada and snow geese.
Songbirds that rely on forested areas for habitat are doing well in the state, while the number of meadow birds is declining. The American robin, ruby-throated hummingbird, mourning dove, killdeer, chipping sparrow, yellow warbler, blue jay, and house wren are found in most areas in summer. The eastern bluebird, the state’s official bird, is commonly seen once again.
By the mid-1960s in New York there were no longer any successfully breeding pairs of the American bald eagle, a native of the state.
Their demise was due largely to habitat loss and to the pesticide DDT, which was banned in 1972. The New York State Bald Eagle Restoration Project, begun in 1976, has led to the successful reintroduction of the American bald eagle to the state. The peregrine falcon has found a near perfect home among the skyscrapers and high bridges of New York City, with food provided by the numerous pigeons, blue jays, and other birds of the city. "New York" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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