My first encounter with a wetland ecosystem was in the springtime, on a vacant lot where the frogs’ chorus drew me like a magnet to the ponds in the flooded field. The hidden frogs lured me with their songs, compelling me to explore the elusive source of the sound. I was a young girl then, and I have been searching the water’s edge ever since. Many towns’ sewage ponds are their only marshy area and are frequently the local birding hot spot. The combination of water, abundant organic material, and few people lets the wildness spill into these unique areas.
Wetland habitats teem with life. Water and the underlying sediments, rich in nutrients, support diverse life forms, from bacteria and algae through every classification of organism. The productiveness of the wetland habitat provides a banquet for birds, who feast on life in the mud and water. The calm water of wetlands is a primordial soup, with frog eggs, water striders, crustaceans, marsh beetle nymphs, mayflies, and dragonflies all feeding in this richness.