Bald eagles generally hatch mid-April. Young eagles often spotted atop muskrat houses on the Main Pool and Tschache Pool. Osprey hatch by mid-May and grow quick and strong for their fall migration--some go as far as South America.
Canada geese and several duck species nest on the refuge beginning in early-March. Watch for broods in early-May and see them grow throughout the summer. Scan the water at the beginning and end of the Wildlife Drive to see wood duck broods. Pied-billed grebes and American coots also nest and raise young here. Great blue herons nest in the woods adjacent to the Main Pool; although the rookery is not visible from the Wildlife Drive, herons make a good show throughout the summer (also look for green and black-crowned night herons). Cerulean warblers, rare in New York State, often nest in the trees at the head of the Wildlife Drive. Black terns may also nest on the Refuge; if you see a brood, please contact refuge staff.
In the U.S., by the 1930s the sandhill crane population was nearly decimated across its range. Sandhill cranes were first observed on the Montezuma Wetlands Complex during spring migration in 1999. In 2003, a few cranes were observed during migration and the first confirmed breeding occurred! A pair with young was observed again in the 2004 through 2010 breeding seasons. In 2010, a second breeding pair on the Complex was found near Tschache Pool. Today the U.S. population has recovered to 650,000 birds and several states including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, which are part of a range expansion.