Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region
Welcome to our Refuge!

Random images of refuge scenes - Photo credits:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Random images of refuge scenes - Photo credits:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

(FWS Photos)

The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge Complex is now final. To view the final document visit:

Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1936 as a migratory bird refuge.  It is located in the short and mixed grass prairie region of North-central Montana and encompasses 15,551 acres.  The refuge lies about 7 miles northeast of Malta in the Milk River Valley of Phillips County.  Managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bowdoin is one of over 540 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a system of lands set aside to conserve wildlife and habitat and as a place for people to enjoy today and for generations to come. 

Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge's primary purpose is to preserve and enhance resting, feeding, and breeding habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.  The refuge attracts migrating waterfowl and shorebirds by the thousands and provides breeding and nesting habitat for ducks, geese, grassland songbirds, and colonial nesting water birds.  The area is equally important to a variety of resident wildlife, including raptors, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, sharp-tailed grouse, and coyotes.  Many species of state and federal concern can be seen at the refuge including bald eagles, piping plovers and on occasion peregrine falcons.

North-central Montana is made up of many depressional wetlands created by glaciers over 12,000 years ago.  Although geologic history indicates that Lake Bowdoin was once an oxbow of the pre-glacial Missouri River channel, today the Missouri River lies nearly 70 miles south of Bowdoin NWR!  Major habitat types on the refuge include saline and freshwater wetlands, native prairie, planted dense nesting cover and shrubs.  Refuge wetlands total 8,675 acres with the remaining habitat consisting of uplands.

Please check out our Wildlife Page to look at noteworthy wildlife seen on Bowdoin NWR this spring and summer!


Last updated: May 31, 2012