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By John Harrod, Manager, DuPont Environmental Education Center

Though we have not had much snow yet in Delaware, I have had the opportunity to observe other white wonders of nature in the marsh at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. On a recent walk, I saw some wildlife that boast white on their bodies.

I was delighted at the unexpected sighting of a piebald White-tailed Deer among the grasses. Piebald animals lack pigment on portions of their bodies.

A piebald deer at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge

A piebald deer at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. Photo by John Harrod

A Northern Harrier was seen skimming over the marsh hunting for small mammals. It was easily identified by the large white patch on its rump.

Northern Harrier by Bob Webster.

Northern Harrier. Photo by Bob Webster.

I also caught a glimpse of an Opossum wandering into the reeds. When the weather gets cold and food is scarcer, nocturnal animals can often be found looking for sustenance during the day. The word “opossum” is derived from Algonquian, meaning “white beast.” 

Opossum. Photo by Derek Stoner.

Opossum. Photo by Derek Stoner.

Visit us at the DuPont Environmental Education Center over the winter holiday break and see what wildlife you can find. Use DEEC’s balcony to overlook the marsh or join us on one of our free or low-cost walks into the marsh.