Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region

Visit Us

The rolling green hills provide a glimpse of native prairie. Current management and future plans are to emphasize the untouched character of the landscape. Expect to see vast panoramas of mostly untouched grasslands much as great-grandpa might have seen.

There are interesting things to see on the Refuge each season, as you will see in our Calendar of Natural Events. During the spring and fall a wide variety of migrating shorebirds and passerines utilize the refuge as a stop on their trip. In the summer months breeding ducks and geese populate the lakes. Red-tailed hawks and Northern Harriers search the meadows for prey. You can also find white tail deer, mule deer, antelope, and a variety of resident birds including pheasants and grouse.

For more information on wildlife visit the bird and mammal lists.

Photo of a landscape of sandhills and water - Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Calendar of Natural Events

Spring

  • willows are the first trees to “green up”


  • Canada geese and sandhill cranes migrate through


  • pelicans and other marsh and water birds arrive


  • large numbers of Wilson's phalarope arrive


  • warblers return


  • grouse dance in mid-April


  • giant Canada geese nest


  • goslings appear in late April


  • snakes and turtles become active


  • bass spawn


  • bluegills spawn


  • chorus frogs call (sounds like a finger running across the teeth of a comb)


Summer

  • spiderwort, yucca, prickly pear, and the endangered blowout penstemon bloom in June


  • female cottonwood trees drop cotton (seeds)


  • upland sandpipers seen on fence posts


  • shorebirds seen on mudflats


  • cormorants nest on Goose Lake


  • eared grebes seen on floating nests on Smith and Deer Lakes


  • grouse, pheasant, and waterfowl broods visible


  • antelope bear their young (kids)


  • fawns visible


  • garter snakes bear live young


  • toads call (sounds like bleating sheep)


  • blue-winged teal arrive in August


  • sunflowers bloom in late summer


Fall

  • big bluestem (turkey foot) seeds out


  • painted turtles bask on logs and muskrat huts


  • bass fishing improves with cooler days


  • horned larks and meadowlarks forage along roadsides


  • dispersal of coyote pups


  • antlered deer visible


  • deer in rut


  • peak waterfowl migration in November


Winter

  • most visible species: pheasant, northern harrier, and large wintering deer herds


  • golden eagles present


  • deer drop antlers


  • reptiles underground and dormant


  • ice fishing on Island Lake, Crane Lake, and Smith Lake


Last updated: March 21, 2011