Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region

Wildlife & Habitat

The 2,796 acres of Ankeny NWR is located in the floodplain of both the Willamette and Santiam Rivers.  This contributes to the large number of wetland habitat located on the Refuge.  Fields of wildlife food crops are interspersed with meandering creeks with bottomland Oregon ash forest and mature big-leaf maple in mixed coniferous forest.

Click here to view the Seasonal Bird Checklist for the Complex.

Click here to view the most recent Wildlife Sightings report (updated May 1, 2012).

Wetlands - includes creeks, ponds and seasonal marshes

Willow marsh located on Ankeny NWR

With the depleting number of wetland habitats in the Willamette Valley, Ankeny NWR is a great way to see what the valley once looked like. The wetlands on the refuge provide a sanctuary for wintering waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. Eagle, Pintail, Egret and Mallard Marshes are just a few of the wetland habitats on the Refuge and will hold water throughout the year. Smaller ponds that are worth visiting are Wood Duck Pond, Frog Pond, Dunlin Pond and Killdeer Pond.

Many trails on the refuge allow excellent views of these different habitats. The observation blinds located on Rail Trail and Pintail and Egret Trail are a great way to get a closer view of the variety of waterfowl on the Refuge. The highest number of waterfowl on the Refuge can be seen at the Eagle Marsh Overlook.

Wetland Birds, Animals and Plants

Birds: Canada geese, ruddy ducks, northern pintail, bald eagle, Killdeer

Animals: Red-legged frog, Pacific tree frog, beaver

Plants: Broad-leafed pondweed, water plantain, American sloughgrass, Englemans spike-rush


Riparian Forest

Rail Trail boardwalk located on Ankeny NWR

Along Rail Trail at Ankeny NWR is where you will find a riparian forest habitat. The plants that live in this area are accustomed to flooding in the winter and low water levels in the summer. They have adapted to be able to live in the harsh environment of the riparian forest. The dense understory of this habitat provides refuge for many different types of wildlife. Many birds build nests among the thick brush and shrubs along the banks of the creek. Beavers are commonly seen along the creeks building dens and playing in the water. There are nest boxes along the creek that provide homes for many different species of wildlife. Wood ducks are one of the species that use the nest boxes.

Riparian Forest Birds, Animals and Plants

Birds: Wood duck, mallard, hooded merganser, spotted towhee

Animals: River otter, rough-skinned newt, black-tailed deer, red-legged frog

Plants: Oregon ash, lady fern, skunk cabbage


includes brush and hedgerowscropfield located on Ankeny NWR

Many different types of crops are grown on the refuge to provide winter browse for wintering waterfowl. They like to feed on the short, tender new growth that follows the fall rains. In turn, waterfowl browsing stimulates the grass to grow more rapidly. By the time the bird leave on their spring migration, the fields are thick with strong new shoots of grass. Other wildlife species benefit from the bushy edges and hedgerows that are left around the farm fields.  Many of these animals feed in the fields but seek cover and protection from predators among the thick bushes around the edges.

Grassland Birds, Animals and Plants

Birds: Canada geese, California quail, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, red-winged blackbird

Animals: Gray-tailed vole, black-tailed deer, red fox, coyote, common garter snake

Plants: Tall fescue, corn, annual ryegrass, hawthorn

Last updated: May 1, 2012