National Wildlife Refuge
|26010 South Smith Rd
Cheney, WA 99004 - 9326
Phone Number: 509-235-4723
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Continued . . . Fifteen thousand years ago during the great ice age floods, huge chunks of ice and debris moved across the eastern Washington landscape, scouring away the rich prairie soils, exposing the underlying basalt, and creating a unique maze of channels and depression.
Some of the exposed basalt eroded to depressional land features, which matured into a diverse complex of ponds, sloughs, and lakes. Deciduous trees, including aspen, water birch, alder, and hawthorn now grow in narrow moist bands along streams and wetland perimeters. The upland areas of the channeled scablands support a mosaic of steppe (grassland) and ponderosa pine forest communities. Turnbull Refuge protects only a remnant of the original Channeled Scabland ecosystem.
The refuge is a lasting tribute to wildlife. Of prime importance, the refuge conserves habitat for nesting and migrating birds, including ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds, and other water birds. Diving ducks, such as redheads, canvasbacks, and scaup, search the deeper wetland habitats for food.
The less conspicuous neotropical migrants, including the yellow and Wilson warblers, and the warbling vireo, black-chinned hummingbird, and song sparrow use deciduous tree and shrub habitat near wetlands and in the Pine Creek riparian areas. This habitat is becoming increasingly important to breeding and migrating neotropical birds with the loss of important habitat throughout North, Central, and South America.
Dead standing trees, known as snags, and ponderosa pines with dead tops provide important habitat for many types of wildlife. Cavity nesting birds (bluebirds, nuthatches, chickadees, and woodpeckers) and mammals (chipmunks, squirrels, and bats) use this vital habitat for feeding and rearing young.
In all, the refuge supports a wide variety of wildlife. Over 200 different kinds of birds have been recorded. Mammals include elk, mule and white-tail deer, coyote, badger, river otter, porcupine, muskrat, and beaver. There are also numerous small mammals such as chipmunks, red squirrels, Columbia ground squirrels, deer mice, and voles. Ten species of bat have been recorded on the refuge. Notably, the long-eared myotis, silver-haired and big brown bats breed and rear their young on the refuge.
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