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A PLACE FOR MIGRATORY BIRDS AND WILDLIFE
One in a chain of National wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway extending from Alaska to Mexico, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds. Migratory bird production and maintenance is the primary purpose of the refuge.
Laying at an elevation of 4,365 feet, the refuge is situated near the confluence of the north and south forks of the Pit River. Modoc NWR lies just beyond the western edge of the Great Basin, with the Warner Mountain range on the east and the Adin Mountain range on the west. Several habitat types are represented: freshwater lakes and ponds, farmland and irrigated meadows, sagebrush upland and riparian corridors. In addition to the migratory bird populations, these diverse habitats support a wide range of other wildlife.
The best opportunity to observe a great diversity of bird life is from April through May and September through October. The best viewing is during morning or evening hours. Binoculars or a spotting scope can help you observe wildlife from a distance and minimize disturbance. Your car can be a good vantage point and act as a wildlife blind. If on foot, remember wildlife is wary of humans and easily disturbed. A wildlife field guide will help you learn in which habitat to look for specific species.
Depending upon the season, bird populations vary greatly in abundance and diversity. Large concentrations of waterfowl visit the refuge during spring and fall migrations; a portion of these remain through the breeding season. For information on current viewing opportunities click here.
A total of 246 bird species have been observed on the refuge, including 40 accidentals. At least 76 species have been documented as nesting at Modoc with another 18 species suspected of nesting.
View the bird list
Most mammals found on the refuge and adjacent land are resident species, except bats which migrate. Visibility of mammals varies seasonally because some species hibernate in winter, and others, although active, remain out of sight in tunnels under the snow. Mule deer are plentiful in the area and can be seen from refuge roadways.
View the mammal list
REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
Reptiles usually live on drier sites while amphibians live in water and on land. Both hibernate in winter and are usually seen during spring through fall seasons. Most are small reclusive animals not highly visible to the refuge visitor. Snakes can sometimes be seen crossing roadways. Lizards frequent shrub uplands, while frogs can be found at water's edge.
View the reptile and amphibian list
These species of fish are present in refuge waters, or waters adjacent to the refuge. One species of gamefish, the Goose Lake Redband Trout, and all eight species of non-game fish are native to the Pit River system. The most commonly observed fish along the tour route is the tui chub, an important food source for river otters, mink, mergansers, grebes, and other fish-eating wildlife.
the fish list
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