Flying Swan Fall Colors

Birds are special residents at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. During the warmer months they fill the skies daily with their colors and sounds. The rich wetlands and nearby forests make ideal habitat for breeding and feeding. The climate during the spring, summer and fall are an ideal place to raise chicks. In addition to the beautiful trumpeter swan, there are numerous waterfowl, soaring raptors such as the bald eagle, hawks and falcons, and many colorful songbirds. Sandhill cranes make their summer home here as do many other migrating birds. Download our bird list here. To report a rare bird in the refuge, click here.

  • Trumpeter Swan

    Trumpeter Swan Thumbnail

    Trumpeter swans once ranged over much of the interior United States, but their numbers decreased as they were shot for their plume feathers and as their habitat disappeared.  The refuge provided protection and seclusion, and the swan population increased.  The parents are snowy white and their young, called cygnets, are sooty grey.  Their distinctive call, as if from a French horn, gives them their name.

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  • Other Waterfowl

    Cinnamon Teal Thumbnail

    The refuge has many square miles of water that is home to a variety of water fowl species. They find the relative seclusion, the abundant aquatic plants due to the shallow lakes, the mild summer weather, and the many grasses an ideal place to raise their young. This is an ideal place to study and observe the ducks, geese, grebes, herons, egrets, ibis, sandpipers, terns, mergansers, cormorants, white pelicans and sea gulls in their natural habitats.

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  • Raptors

    Peregrine Falcon Thumbnail

    The "king of the skies" around the refuge are the raptors. They patrol the grasslands for miles with their keen eyes, they swoop down with precision to grab a bite for dinner, and they expertly soar on the ever blowing higher winds. Without them, the refuge would be over-run with small rodents and insects. Eagles, owls, hawks and falcons patrol the skies and make sure the refuge is safe for many other species besides themselves.

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  • Song Birds

    Western Tanager Thumbnail

    Passerines, or more commonly called song birds, add a touch of color and song to the refuge. They tend to favor the areas with trees, such as the forest edge and the few areas near the lakes with trees. Some live in the tall grasses or shrubs which give them shelter and places for their nests. Colorful western tanagers, grosbeaks, meadowlarks, horned larks, sparrows, mountain bluebirds, woodpeckers, magpies, swallows and more enhance the experience of life in the refuge. They are important in keeping the insect population balanced.

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  • Other Birds

    Sand Hill Crane Thumb

    Other birds that can be found here include sandhill crane, curlew, sage grouse, partridge, grouse, quail and more. The grasslands offer plenty room for shelter and food for these birds. There are also rare and occasional birds that fly across the refuge and decide to stay a few days.

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