Wildlife & Habitat
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is within the Central Flyway, a route traveled annually by numerous species of waterfowl and other birds moving between their wintering areas in the south to their nesting regions up north.
One particular group of birds called neotropical migrants passes through the refuge each spring and fall with many remaining to nest. More than 300 species of these migratory birds have been recorded on the refuge, including warblers, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, sparrows, and numerous others that provide a song in the trees. The refuge’s riparian areas, trees and grasses adjacent to the dry lake bed are an important source of food and shelter to these small, colorful visitors.
The refuge also contains some of the best remaining short grass prairie in the United States, including 175 acres designated a National Natural Landmark. Short grass prairie ecosystems were historically maintained by American bison. With the bison gone, this ecosystem is now maintained on the refuge by cattle grazing. Grassland prairie in the United States has nearly disappeared making the refuge’s protection efforts especially important. A variety of species depend on this endangered ecosystem, including black-tailed prairie dog, burrowing owl, Cassin’s sparrow and lark sparrow, and bald and golden eagle.
The diversity of plants found within the shortgrass prairie is also important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies. It also offers excellent opportunities to enjoy Texas’ colorful wildflowers or watch raptors gliding overhead in search of prey.