Wildlife & Habitat


The refuge maintains abundant habitat in an undisturbed, relatively natural state. These areas provide tall, dense vegetation for species that prefer seclusion for nesting. It also provides escape cover from predators.  More information can be found on the Resource Management page.

  • Birds

    Ibis nesting island

    White-faced ibis, sandhill cranes, and a variety of shorebirds call Bear Lake NWR home in the summer. Refuge biologists have identified 161 bird species that use the refuge.

    Bear Lake bird list 

  • Mammals

    Mud Lake Moose Fall 150

    Moose can sometimes be found on the refuge, along with wintering mule deer. Smaller mammals often seen are muskrats, skunks, and cottontail rabbits.

  • Habitat

    Marsh Habitat

    The dominant species covering much of the deeper portions of the marsh is bulrush. The round-stemmed plants grow up to seven feet tall; they play a vital role in the refuge environment. 

    The refuge cuts hay to provide short cover that is flooded in the spring to create feeding sites and rearing areas for waterfowl, sandhill cranes, and ibis. 


    The refuge also cultivates several fields around the edge of the marsh to provide for food crops of wheat, barley, and alfalfa for waterfowl and sandhill cranes.

    Learn More