Birds In addition to the Attwater’s prairie-chicken, the refuge supports more than 250 species of birds. Among these are fulvous and black-bellied whistling ducks found in the refuge’s wetlands. White-tailed hawks soar over the prairies. Crested caracaras and vultures keep a sharp lookout for carrion. These scavengers are like the janitors of the grasslands, cleaning up after other wildlife. During the summer months, scissor-tailed flycatchers and dickcissels grace the grasslands. In the refuge impoundments, roseate spoonbills carry the pink glow of a morning sunrise on their wings. You might see anhingas perched on branches with their wings spread wide to dry. In winter, geese abound in neighboring fields, while the refuge hosts a diversity of ducks, sandhill cranes, Sprague’s pipit, and one of the most diverse lists of sparrow species in the region.MammalsThe refuge supports about 50 species of mammals, most of which are nocturnal. Night time prowlers include bobcats, coyotes, and the nine-banded armadillos. During the day, you’ll have a good chance of seeing white-tailed deer. While the deer may be charismatic, remember to watch for small mammals like the 13-lined ground squirrel and black-tailed jackrabbit that are also important to the prairie ecosystem.Reptiles and AmphibiansAmerican alligators share the ponds with smooth and spiny softshell turtles. Bullfrogs and upland chorus frogs fill the night air with their calls. Remember this is a wildlife refuge and it is important to show some respect if you encounter the Texas coral, western cottonmouth, and southern copperhead snake, all of which call the refuge home.
The refuge staff have put together some tips for successful wildlife watching available here.
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More than a century ago, up to one million Attwater’s prairie-chickens graced the coastal prairies of Texas and Louisiana. Each spring, males gathered to perform an elaborate courtship ritual. They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a strange, booming sound across a sea of grasses.