New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve: Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge


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Hoo-dini the Great Horned Owl

The Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is in Medford on the edge of the NJ Pinelands National Reserve. The refuge rehabilitates and releases thousands of native animals each year.

Aldora, the red-tail hawk is blind in his other eye after being hit by a car.

The refuge was founded by Jim and Betty Woodford in 1957  on 171 acres and continues its work today with their daughter at the helm. The refuge received a preservation grant from the NJ Green Acres fund in the nineties and operates as a non-profit organization.


Their mission includes education, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. They have a wildlife rehabilitation hospital on the premises, as well an outdoor housing area for the animals that can’t be released back into the wild.

Qwan, the barred owl, was there for both of my visits in 2016 and 2017. He was a senior citizen then, almost completely blind and the refuge’s most mellow ambassador.

One of the education programs they run to help fund their efforts is a chance for groups to interact with the ‘education ambassadors.’ I’ve visited twice with a photography group for the opportunity to photograph some of the birds of prey in a more natural setting.


The volunteer told us each bird’s story as we encountered them. Most are there because they were hit by cars, sustained permanent injuries and would not survive in the wild. Several are blind, some have lame wings, etc…

Apollo, the turkey vulture became too acclimated to humans, preferring to steal hamburgers from backyard grills to scavenging carcasses.

Some, like the Turkey Vulture, had imprinted on humans. The volunteer explained that, in the hospital, the animals are nursed back to health by caretakers wearing coverings and a bird puppet to prevent human imprinting.

Duster the barn owl retired from his ambassador duties in 2018

After our photo session, we walked around the enclosures and along the hiking trail around Cedar Run Pond for a short way.


Pinelands Reserve Posts:


Location: 4 Sawmill Road | Medford, NJ 08055

Designation: Wildlife Sanctuary

Date designated or established: 1957

Date of my visit: 1/31/2016

‘Don’t let his adorable stature fool you’, the volunteer said. ‘The Northern screech Owl is a vicious little predator.’