A tour around the refuge's shallow pools may reveal several species of wading and other water birds, some of which nest here. The shallow waters, fringed by cattail and other emergent vegetation, attract an abundance of great blue heron, green-backed heron, great egret, black-crowned night-heron, Virginia rail, sora, bitterns, common moorhen and pied-billed grebes.
Black terns (a NYS listed endangered species) have recently returned to nesting in the Montezuma wetlands. Black terns nest in small, loose colonies using floating masses of dead vegetation. Since the 1950s, when the population reached more than 2,000 terns, numbers and nesting had been on the decline--until recently. The drop in numbers is believed to be related to the invasion of purple loosestrife. Purple loosestrife "chokes out" other vegetation and open water areas, leaving the area undesirable to nesting terns. With our successful purple loosestrife control, Montezuma's habitats have once again attracted nesting black terns. A conservation success story, for sure!
Follow Us Online
Today, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge boasts six active bald eagle nests. The infamous trio's nest can be viewed from Armitage Road, located off of NY State Route 89. The trio has nested on the refuge since 1987; the two males are from a reintroduction program conducted in the late 1970s.