Bald Eagle fight

With hummingbirds darting around the flowers, bald eagles soaring over the wetlands, and the sora rail hiding in the marsh, over 223 species of birds make Kootenai NWR their home!  

Any season, any time of day, explorers will see a variety of birds!  From the large bald eagle to the tiny calliope hummingbird, bird enthusiasts flock to the refuge for a chance to get a glimpse of these majestic birds.  Visitors also have an opportunity to travel a part of the International Selkirk Loop while visiting the refuge.
For an up to date list of current sightings in Boundary County, including the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, check out the e-bird list.

  • Hummingbirds

    Rufous Hummingbird with flower

    Buzzing around the refuge in the spring and summer months, 3 species of hummingbirds can be seen and heard around the refuge.  Traveling from its wintering grounds in Mexico, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest long-distance avian migrant in the world and the smallest bird in North America.  The rufous hummingbird is usually the first to arrive in the spring and is the most feisty!  These bright orange-red birds are a delight to see!  The black-chinned hummingbird has a widespread range found in deserts to mountain forests.  They can be identified by their green backs with an iridescent purple bordering the black chin if the sun hits them just right!  Look for the babies to emerge and join their parents at the feeders in July and August!

    Learn More
  • Raptors

    American Kestrel

    Soaring above the trees in the mountain air or hovering over the marsh, several species of raptors may catch your eye!  Bald eagles can be observed year-round and nest on the refuge.  American Kestrels, Northern Harriers, Great-horned Owls, and Red-tail Hawks are just some of the species that may be seen catching mice, other rodents, or insects around the refuge.

  • Song Birds

    Western Meadowlark

    Often heard, but not as commonly seen are cacophonies of song birds!  Explore the refuge in the early morning hours to have the best chance to observe the many species of song birds that inhabit the conifer forests, grasslands, riparian areas, streams, and wetlands.

  • Waterfowl

    Blue-winged Teal

    Migrating ducks in the thousands and hundreds of geese and swans use the refuge wetlands, grain fields, and grasslands during fall, winter, and spring. A smaller but significant number of waterfowl use the refuge uplands and wetlands during the breeding season for pairing, nesting, and brood rearing. Duck populations during all seasons are dominated by dabblers which constitute over 80 percent of the observed numbers. Mallards are by far the most abundant duck species in all seasons. The greatest use of refuge habitats by migrating waterfowl occurs in the fall followed by the spring. Much smaller numbers use the refuge during the winter after refuge wetlands freeze up and grain crops are covered by snow.