American Avocet Nesting 512

The refuge's many lakes, ponds and creeks are host to a diverse collection of waterfowl from early spring through late fall. The water on the refuge is shallow which allows sunlight to reach the bottom of the lakes thus creating many different aquatic plant species ideal for the dabblers. The mud created by the ample water supply is great for feeding on invertebrates by plovers, sandpipers, herons and curlews. Ducks, geese, terns, gulls, and ibis find plenty of high grass for breeding and feeding. This page will highlight a few of our waterfowl, but look at our Bird List for a complete listing. Click on the links below for more information from WikiPedia. View our photo gallery of water fowl for photos of some specific species found at the refuge.

  • Cinnamon Teal

    Cinnamon Teal Thumbnail

    (Anas cyanoptera) is a species of duck found in western North and South America. It is a small dabbling duck, with bright reddish or cinnamon-colored plumage on the male and duller brown plumage on the female. It lives in the refuge's marshes and ponds, and feeds mostly on aquatic plants.

  • American Wigeon

    American Wigeon

    (Anas americana) is a species of dabbling duck found in North America and on this refuge. It is a migratory bird and winters south of here. It is a medium sized bird, larger than a teal but smaller than a northern pintail. It is also known as the "robber duck" because it grabs vegetation that other birds (like coots) have found on the bottom of a pond. It likes the open wetlands the refuge provides.

  • Lesser Scaup

    Lesser Scaup thumb

    (Aythya affinis) is a small North American diving duck that migrates south as far as Central America in winter. It is also known as the Little Bluebill or Broadbill because of its distinctive blue bill. The origin of the name scaup may stem from the bird's preference for feeding on scalp – the Scottish word for clams, oysters, and mussels. It is found on all of the refuge lakes and ponds, particularly Lower Lake.

  • Eared-Grebe

    Eared-grebe thumb

    (Podiceps nigricollis)is a member of the grebe family of water birds and migrates west to the Pacific Coast in winter. It is not extremely common on the refuge, but very distinctive with its large red eye and bushy head feathers. The Eared Grebe is an excellent swimmer and diver, and chases its prey underwater, eating mostly fish as well as small crustaceans, aquatic insects and larvae. It likes to evade dangers by diving rather than flying.

  • Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shoveler Duck 150

    (Anas clypeata) is a common duck on the refuge and in North America. It feeds in the refuge lakes and ponds by dabbling for plant food, often by swinging its spatulate shaped bill from side to side to strain food from the water. They filter acquatic insects from the water using well-developed lamellae – small, comb-like structures on the edge of the bill that act like sieves, allowing the birds to skim crustaceans and plankton from the water's surface. The females resemble the mallard females, as do the males in non-breeding season.

  • American White Pelican

    White Pelicans 150

    (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)is almost as long as the Trumpeter Swan. The Condor is the only North American bird with a larger wing span (up to 10 feet). It can be seen easily on most of the refuge lakes and ponds, often mistaken for the swan at a distance. They winter much further south of here and on the California coast. Unlike the Brown Pelican, they do not dive for fish but catch them while swimming. American White Pelicans like to come together in groups of a dozen or more birds to feed, as they can thus cooperate and corral fish to one another. They can often been seen in a line with heads swishing back and forth in the water.

  • Great Blue Heron

    Blue Heron in tree 150

    (Ardea herodias)is a large wading bird that can often be seen standing patiently along Red Rock Creek or Lower Red Rock Lake shores waiting for a fish to swim by. The main food for Great Blue Heron is small fish, though it is also known to feed on a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents and other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles (snakes), and even small birds. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. They are almost always seen standing alone.

  • White-faced Ibis

    White faced ibis 150

    (Plegadis chihi)is a common bird on the refuge in summer. It prefers to nest in the reeds on the islands of Lower Red Rock Lake. They prefer to feed on insects in the marshes along the Red Rock Creek. They are distinguished by their long beaks and red-eyes. Unlike herons, ibises fly with necks outstretched, their flight being graceful and often in V-formation.

  • List of other Waterfowl