As the snow recedes and the wetlands begin to thaw the first migratory birds begin to appear. The more noticeable "early birds" are the ducks and geese. Canada geese arrive in late February and immediately begin to set up their territories. By March the first mallards and northern pintails begin to arrive, followed by other duck species such as gadwall, American wigeon, northern shovler, canvasback and lesser scaup. The shorebirds come through this area mid-April through mid-May. The arrival of songbirds varies from species to species. For example western meadowlarks arrive in early March while Baird's sparrows not until April.
The best time of the year to come bird watching is mid-April through mid-May to view most of the migratory birds travelling up through the central flyway returning to their natal area, such as Bowdoin NWR, or on their way north to their breeding grounds, as far as Alaska.
Nesting begins shortly after their arrival. The earliest nesters are Canada geese, mallards, and northern pintail. All three teal species, blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon, nest on the refuge.
Some examples of uplands nesting birds found on the refuge are mallard, northern pintail, gadwall, northern shoveler, and blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon teal, northern phalarope, marbled godwit, willet, short-eared owl, and on occassion northern harrier.
For a complete bird list for the refuge click on "learn more" below.