The Mississippi River Delta is teeming with life. Fed by half a continent’s worth of nutrients, it’s one of the richest wetland communities on earth. Thousands of birds crowd in the tops of mangroves to breed; cypress swamps are full of wading birds; and freshwater marshes serve as breeding grounds for many of North America’s duck populations. Saltwater marshes may appear to be nothing but grass, but they are enormously diverse in invertebrate fauna. These invertebrates not only serve as a food source for birds, but also as the basis for fishing and shrimping industries. The barrier islands off the Delta, though small, offer nesting grounds for tens of thousands of birds seeking sites out of the reach of predators. In short, the Mississippi Delta ecosystem supports an impressively diverse bird community.