Watchable Wildlife in Arkansas
Altitude, geography, and the Arkansas climate and weather
, on top of the plateau-like summit, combine to create unique habitats for plants and wild animals in Arkansas. Trails lead through many different areas and provide hours of enjoyable hiking. Alert observers can encounter a wide diversity of wildlife in Arkansas, from the smallest visible invertebrates, such as snails, to the largest mammals found on the mountain, black bears.
Arkansas bird watching
opportunities change with the seasons. Spring brings migrating songbirds to fill the woods with song. Scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, and warblers declare their territories as nesting season approaches. Glades along southern bluffs provide nesting sites for rufous-crowned sparrows, rarely seen in other areas of Arkansas. Roadrunners seek lizards and snakes on these arid sites. Vultures nest in inaccessible crags. Raptors and other Arkansas birds of prey
use updrafts to glide past bluffs during fall migration. Many hawks, eagles, and falcons have been seen here.
Wildflowers are abundant throughout the park. Where you find flowers, you find butterflies in Arkansas
. Eighty-six species of butterflies have been identified on the mountain. Roadsides and trails provide excellent butterfly photography opportunities.
White-tailed deer and wild turkey are often seen along roadsides throughout the park. Bobcats and coyotes are occasionally seen. Fresh snow is an excellent medium for studying animal tracks.
Mount Magazine has a healthy black bear population. While there is no guarantee that you will see one during your visit, a hike can provide evidence of their foraging. Watch for scat, tracks, over-turned rocks, and rotten logs which have been torn apart.
Behind the park visitor center is an area set up to attract wildlife. Feeders are filled daily and attract squirrels, chipmunks, and a variety of birds. Occasionally, deer, raccoons, and even bears are seen from the comfortable indoor wildlife viewing room. Some feeders are mounted on a tall pole to raise them out of reach of the bears. Water is cycled through a natural-looking cascade and provides a pool for frogs. Wildflower gardens all around the visitor center add a touch of color and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Boxes provide homes for bats and birds. Park interpreters and volunteers maintain this area and offer guided tours to show how visitors can provide for wildlife at their homes.
There are some sensitive areas on the mountain that can be adversely affected by public use. A number of rare or endangered plants and wild animals in Arkansas
are found on the mountain. Arkansas State Parks and the USDA Forest Service are working together to protect and manage the unique habitats that make Mount Magazine a special place.
When planning your trip to Mount Magazine, be sure to pack binoculars, a spotting scope, a camera, field guides, and other tools that will enhance your experience when watching wildlife in Arkansas
. While exploring the mountain, take time to look all around you. Stop periodically and listen to the sounds of nature. Be alert. You can't predict what wildlife you'll encounter on any given day, but there are many things you can do to enhance your wildlife-watching experience and improve your chances of seeing mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in their natural habitats.
Get more tips on how to watch wildlife
in Arkansas's state parks.