San Juan Islands Animals

San Juan Landscape View

The San Juan Islands are species rich and ecologically unique in the Northwest. The diversity of wildlife reflects the variety of habitats found in the islands: grasslands and forests, marshes and freshwater lakes, gravel beaches and rocky coastlines, and the all-encompassing ocean.

The new National Monument contains a wide array of habitats, with woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands intermixed with rocky balds, bluffs, inter-tidal areas, and sandy beaches. In an area with limited fresh water, two wetlands within the new National Monument are one of the more significant freshwater habitats located on public land in the San Juan Islands.

This diversity of habitats is critical to supporting an equally varied collection of wildlife, including black-tail deer, river otter, mink, and an array of birdlife such as the threatened marbled murrelet and the recently reintroduced western bluebird. The island marble butterfly, once thought to be extinct, is found only here.

In addition, the islands have over 100 bald eagle nesting territories and 20 peregrine falcon eyries. Marine mammals such as orca and harbor seal are abundant in coastal waters and uncommon endemic species occur on BLM lands including the rare Island Marble butterfly and Shaw Island meadow vole.

Exceptional examples of plant and animal communities are under BLM management. These include old growth forests, freshwater marshes, the only spruce bog in the islands, camas meadows, and other special status species habitat.