Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region

Migration Update December 7, 2009

Winter has arrived.  Temperatures have dropped below zero for several nights and there is 2 to 3 inches of snow on the landscape.  Nearly all of the open water has frozen, with the exception of a few areas along Lake Creek, the Little White River, and below water control structures.  

A swan survey was conducted on the afternoon of December 3rd, and a record 489 trumpeter swans were counted on and around the refuge!    Trumpeter swans from the High Plains Flock gather in large numbers on Lacreek NWR in November and December to find new mates and acquaint with old family and friends.  With the colder weather, many will move to the spring fed rivers in Nebraska, including the Niobrara, the Snake, North Loup, Dismal, Middle Loup, Calamus, and South Loup Rivers.   When temperatures moderate, many will return to Lacreek to feed on the abundant aquatic food resources grown through the summer.

The Canada geese numbers have slowly grown, with around 10,000 now in the area.  They are spread out in several locations on Pools 5 through 10 and and can be seen flying out to feed in many directions.  There are no established patterns, so goose hunters should plan to scout ahead.

The could weather has brought in many new raptors, including rough legged hawks, golden and bald eagles, and peregrine falcons.  Deer, pheasant, and grouse numbers are increasing on the refuge, with these species seeking the heavier cover found on the refuge.  They can be spotted throughout the refuge.

A waterfowl count was conducted on December 4:

Trumpeter Swans – 238
Canada Geese – 10268
Mallards – 15554
Common Goldeneye – 105
Waterfowl Total – 26165

Come out and visit and let us know what you see!
Check with Refuge headquarters at (605)685-6508 Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3:30 PM MST for current road conditions. Enjoy your visit!

Thinking of making a trip to Lacreek NWR?  Check out the latest weather forecast for the Lacreek area at    

Previous Migration Updates:

November 19, 2009
November 2, 2009
October 14, 2009

September 29, 2009
August 24, 2009
July 10, 2009
June 1, 2009
April 30, 2009
April 28, 2009
April 14, 2009
April 7, 2009
March 26, 2009
March 2, 2009
February 2, 2009
January 7, 2009
December 18, 2008
December 10, 2008
November 12, 2008

Last updated: November 2, 2012