Birds and waterfowl offer natural spectacles during winter months on national wildlife refuges.

Waterfowl migration peaks in November at Bombay Hook and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuges, DE, while great flocks of tundra swans, Canada geese and snow geese find their way to Chincoteague and Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuges, VA.

Tens of thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese arrive at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM, even as snow geese and tundra swans are migrating through Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, SD. 

Other refuges featuring great numbers of birds and waterfowl:

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, AL – sandhill cranes, waterfowl, migratory songbirds

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CA/OR – migrating waterfowl and songbirds

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, CA – terns, vireos, pelicans

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA – 500,000 snow geese, 75,000 ducks

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO – snow geese, migratory waterfowl

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC - Waterfowl such as pintails widgeon, teal, a variety of ducks, snow geese

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, TX – great blue herons, great egrets, long billed curlew, chachalaca, great kiskedees

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA – wigeons, mallards, teals, other ducks


Find birding trails close to your home or travel destination here.


Photo: It is possible to see migrating waterfowl like this Northern pintail along trails at Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex,CA/OR..
Credit: Dave Menke