These fertile bottomlands make the east-central Oklahoma refuge excellent habitat for thousands of mallards that choose this as their seasonal home along the Central Flyway. They are joined by gadwall, pintail, teal, wigeon, shoveler and wood ducks. In November and December, flocks of snow geese on the refuge can reach up to 20,000 in number, the largest flock in the state of Oklahoma. Listen for the deafening sounds of quacking waterfowl and honking geese in winter.
An estimated 250-plus species of birds are thought to use the bottomland forests and associated habitats in eastern Oklahoma. Bald eagles nest in several locations on the refuge. This majestic bird that nearly vanished from the landscape can be seen in the winter roosting in cottonwoods or swooping over the waters in search of fish or waterfowl. The refuge also serves as an important nesting and stopover destination for migrating water birds, including yellow crowned night heron and white faced ibis. Raptors, woodpeckers, and songbirds use the area in great numbers, as do many neo-tropical migrating songbirds that rest here during their journey north to nesting grounds.
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is host or home to a diversity of mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians. White-tailed deer, fox squirrels, beaver, swamp rabbit, raccoons and coyote depend on the refuge’s habitat for all or part of their lives. The rivers, sloughs and oxbows of this region provide feeding and spawning habitat for many sport fish native to east central Oklahoma, including channel and flathead catfish, blue catfish, crappie, white and largemouth bass. The watery landscape also supports pygmy rattlesnake and cottonmouth, as well as many turtle species like the red-eared slider and alligator snapping turtle.