Seasons of Wildlife

Owl and Mockingbird

The Refuge  provides critical habitat for the birds that migrate through both the Pacific and Central Flyway of North America. This area contains abundant food for birds. Birds come to the Refuge to eat and rest during migration.

  • Spring

    Sandhill Crane

    In the spring, Fish Springs is active with life as birds fly back from the south. There is a continuous flow of different species in and out of the refuge: each day offering something new to see. Birds are in their bright and colorful breeding plumage and the observant visitor can witness eons-old courtship rituals. Geese and ducks begin to arrive in early March. Shorebird migration lasts from early April through mid-May.


  • Summer


    While some birds head further north to breed, many birds stay through the summer to breed and raise their young. Baby birds can be seen as early as May when the Canada goose goslings and some shorebird chicks make their debut. Later in June and July, visitors can view ducklings and young shorebirds such as American Avocets and black-necked stilts. Owls, eagles and other birds can be seen in the trees at the Refuge rest area as well as soaring over the wetlands. 


  • Fall

    Picture of 2 Yellow legs in grass.

    July marks the beginning of fall migration at Fish Springs. Shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds come back through the refuge on their way south with numbers peaking in mid-August. Tundra swans begin to arrive in mid-October and stay into January.

  • Winter

    Bald Eagle

    From December to March northern harriers, rough-legged hawks and short-eared owls frequent the marsh searching the frozen land for prey. Bald eagles use the refuge in the winter for feeding and resting during the day.