Seasons of Wildlife

Swan in marsh

Trumpeter swans have reestablished as an important nesting species at Grays Lake. You may see them nesting on top of old muskrat  lodges, or they may pile sedges and cattail tubers into a mound to form a nest among the bulrush.

  • Spring

    Crane colt

    Sandhill cranes begin arriving in April. Up to 200 pairs may nest in some years. Swans and Canada geese, along with many other species, begin nesting. 

  • Summer

    Cranes and blackbird

    Warm days and cool nights characterize summers at Grays Lake, providing an ideal environment for a variety of species to raise their young.

  • Fall

    Sunset cranes

    The refuge serves as a staging area for cranes to gather before migrating south for the winter. At times thousands can be seen in the fields surrounding the marsh. 

  • Winter

    Bald eagle in winter

    Winters at Grays Lake are severe and long, with snow lasting from November through April, and frost occurring any month of the year. Large mammals can still be seen, and some hawks and other non-migratory birds adapted to the harsh climate are about.