Enjoying the Refuge
Resident elk, long-billed
curlews and bald eagles are a few of the species that draw wildlife enthusiasts
to Las Vegas Refuge.
Las Vegas is Spanish for ‘The
Meadows,’ an appropriate name for a high plains refuge blanketed in short and
short-grass prairie, playa lakes, woodlots, wetlands & crop fields offer
excellent wildlife watching year round.
For Wildlife and You
Refuges are managed for wildlife and habitat and to ensure future generations
will always have wild places to explore!
Rio Mora Refuge
4,600-acre refuge and conservation area promote the protection of private
working ranches via conservation easements.
The Mora River flows through the
center of the new 4,4,224-acre refuge established in 2012. The Rio Mora
National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, formerly the Wind River Ranch,
is a continuation of the vision of philanthropist Eugene V. Thaw and his wife
Clare E. Thaw who bought the Ranch in 1980 with the intent of protecting and
restoring the land as a representative piece of southwestern ecological
heritage. Inclusion of this important ranch and conservation area into the
refuge system, coupled with the newly established Sangre de Cristo Conservation
Area in Colorado, creates a wildlife corridor that will ensure protection and
restoration of the Mora River watershed and one of the great prairie grassland
landscapes of North America. The headquarters for Rio Mora are collocated with
Las Vegas and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuges.Learn More
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
The visitor center will be open each Sunday in November from 9am to 4pm for the traditional annual Fall Flight Festival featuring a 4.5 mile self-guided auto drive. This tour allows visitors to enjoy the vast spaciousness of short-grass prairie in areas of the refuge not typically open during the rest of the year. Migrating waterfowl will be limited but there will be grassland birds along with wintering raptors.
In her essay, "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah,"
Emily Hiestand writes of a blue jay pair building a nest in the wild black
cherry tree outside her living room window. Frogs, sea turtles and backyard
blue jays are all part of the latest stories about urban nature. Whether you
are a nature enthusiast, book lover, young conservationist or teacher, you are
invited to participate in America's WILD READ discussion.America's Discussion
One way to distinguish the long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) from other shorebirds is by how they feed – like a sewing machine! The shorebird quickly probes into the refuge’s mud flats with its long bill, sometimes to the point of sticking their head in the mud. Like many other migratory birds, they are dependent on the habitat at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge during their long migration that extends as far north as Alaska and as far south as the Yucatan Peninsula.
Page Photo Credits Canyon view down to the Gallinas River / USFWS, Elk herd / Rob Larranaga, USFWS, Refuge grasslands / USFWS, Mule deer does / Jenny and Oliver Davis ©, Coyote near the refuge Visitor Center / USFWS, Buffalo cow with calves / Jenny and Oliver Davis ©, Rio Mora Ranch view / USFWS, Red-tailed hawk perched on refuge fence post / USFWS, Blue jay / Frank Miles, USFWS, Long-billed dowitcher / Cyndi Souza, USFWS, All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2015