Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges
Waterfowl migration begins in early September with the
arrival of northern pintails and greater white-fronted geese. Peak numbers of over 1
million ducks, geese, and swans are usually present by early November with other major
species including mallard, American wigeon, green-winged teal, snow, Ross', and Canada
geese, and tundra swan. August and September are good months to view water birds such as
white pelican, double-crested cormorant, and various herons, gulls, terns, and grebes.
Most will have departed the Klamath Basin by late October.
From December through February, the Klamath Basin hosts
the largest concentration of bald eagles in the contiguous United
States. Some years more than 1000 of these majestic birds are present with most daytime
use occurring at Lower Klamath and Tule Lake Refuges. During these months a large number
and diversity of other raptors, including golden eagle, Northern harrier, and red-tailed
and rough-legged hawks also can be found. Waterfowl numbers on the Refuges increase
dramatically in February with the arrival of the first northbound migrants.
Waterfowl numbers peak in March with more than 1
million birds present in some years. April and May are alive with activity as many
songbirds, water birds, and shorebirds arrive in the Klamath Basin to rest and build fat
reserves for their continuing journey north. Others remain to nest in the Klamath Basin.
Three of the West's few remaining American white pelican breeding colonies are located at
Upper Klamath, Lower Klamath, and Clear Lake Refuges.
Refuge wetlands are among the most prolific waterfowl
and marsh bird production areas in the Pacific Northwest. An estimated 45,000 ducks, 2,600
Canada geese, and thousands of other water birds are raised on the Refuges each year.
Large numbers of young can be viewed from June through August.
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