National Wildlife Refuge
|P.O. Box 816
Okmulgee, OK 74447
Phone Number: 918-652-0456
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|Deep Fork NWR is comprised of bottomland hardwood forests.|
Continued . . . Resident and migratory wildlife abound at the Refuge. Wildlife species found on the refuge are typical of bottomland hardwood forests. Some 254 species of birds are known or thought to use the bottomland forests and associated habitats in eastern Oklahoma. The numerous sloughs and streams support large numbers of great blue, little blue, and great and snowy egrets. Four great blue heron rookeries are located on the Refuge; these rookeries are used by snowy egrets after the young herons fledge. Raptors, woodpeckers, and songbirds use the area in great numbers. Birds of prey hunt the wetlands and woodlands. Many neo-tropical migrating songbirds rest here on journeys north to nesting grounds. Other songbirds like flycatchers, warblers, vireos, buntings, and hummingbirds make this refuge their nesting destination.
Wetlands nourished by the Deep Fork River are important wintering habitat for numerous waterfowl species, and are particularly important for wintering mallards. Depending on existing environmental conditions, particularly weather patterns, peak populations of wintering waterfowl using the Refuge have been estimated at 5,000-20,000 mallards, 1,000-5,000 wood ducks, and 1,000-2,000 other miscellaneous duck species. Secretive wood ducks find perfect nesting and rearing homes in the maze of sloughs and marshes. Fifty-one species of mammals have been recorded in the Deep Fork River basin. Common game and furbearing mammals in the basin include white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, beaver, eastern cottontail, swamp rabbit, raccoon, coyote, and opossum. Furbearer populations, especially those of the raccoon, are among the highest in the state. Swamp rabbits are regularly seen in the Deep Fork River bottoms.
Fifty-nine fish species have been identified from the river, streams, and reservoirs of the Deep Fork River basin, and many are likely to be found in Refuge waters. The Deep Fork River provides feeding and spawning habitat for many sport fish native to east central Oklahoma. The most important species to anglers are the channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish (a.k.a. Mississippi white catfish), crappie, white bass, and largemouth bass.
Approximately 54 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians have been reported from Okmulgee County. Many of these likely occur on Refuge. Pygmy rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and water snakes are a common sight in the bottomland hardwood forest. Red-eared sliders, snapping turtles and alligator snapping turtles can also be found in the sloughs and riparian areas of the Refuge.
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