Mianus River Park
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Nature and Wildlife

The forest is made up of hardwoods such as maples, elms, oaks, tulips, ashes, hickories, cherries, birches, sassafras, tupelos, hackberries, and beeches. Conifers include hemlock and white pines. Squirrels, raccoons, possums, screech owls, tree swallows, and woodpeckers nest in holes in standing dead trees ("snags"). Hawks like the tops of tall trees; robins prefer the lower branches; owls often choose conifers.

Where the understory is undisturbed, the shrub layer is equally diverse, including sweet peppers (Clethra), spicebushes, winterberries, witchhazels, shads (serviceberries), mountain laurels, maple-leaf viburnums, arrowwood viburnums, blueberries, and tree saplings. Many songbirds nest in the shrub layer.

At ground level, there are ferns, grasses, toadstools, and wildflowers. Grouse, thrashers and rabbits nest under the shrubs; foxes, skunks, and tiny rodents dig burrows. Box turtles bury their eggs in loose soil. Chipmunks and snakes often make their homes in the old stone walls.

Along the water, look for cottonwoods, willows and sycamores; shrubs include elderberries, alders, and silky dogwoods. Blue herons and Baltimore orioles often nest in tall trees near water. Weasels, minks, and muskrats burrow in the riverbank. Mallards nest along the riverbank. Painted and snapping turtles bury eggs along the riverbank. Salamanders, toads, and frogs lay eggs in the wetland pools. Fish eggs, fingerling fish, and crayfish are found in the nooks and crannies of the riverbed.


Over 150 resident and migratory birds have been spotted in Mianus River Park and around 70 recorded as breeding in the park. The Friends group has also worked with the Audubon Society to create an urban oasis in the park, with native, bird friendly plants, to provide a resting place for the many birds which migrate through this area. Additional bird friendly areas are planned. More information on birds in Connecticut can be found at Audubon Greenwich.

Why not print a copy of our list of birds spotted in the park and record how many types of bird you can spot?

pdf icon  List of Birds (PDF) or

You can also find a comprehensive guide to birds found throughout the country and in this region at:


Around 15 different mammals have been recorded in the park, ranging from white tailed deer to white-footed mice. Many are shy and can most easily be seen early in the morning or later in the day, especially away from the busiest sections of the park.


Several types of frog and toad have been recorded in the park, namely; the Gray Tree Frog, Pickerel Frog, Wood Frog, American Bullfrog, Spring Peeper, and American Toad. Spotted Salamanders, Red-backed Salamanders, and Eastern Newts are also park residents.

Download our list of mammals and amphibians and try to record how many types you can find in the park:

pdf icon  List of Mammals and Amphibians (PDF) or

Additional information on typical wildlife found in Connecticut is also available at Connecticut Wilderness.

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