Seasons of Wildlife

White Geese 512

Every season brings a change in wildlife at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Winter

    Snowy Pond 150

    Starting in November, geese by the thousands arrive at the refuge. These winter “snowbird” residents feed on refuge-grown grain, which prepares them for spring migration to summer breeding grounds farther north. By late February, both grain and geese are gone, but breeding season begins for owls, hawks, and fox squirrels. Northern harriers and red-shoulder hawks soar low over farm fields in search of small mammals and bald eagles are often seen along the Wildlife Drive. Visitors, too, flock to the refuge to observe waterfowl, photograph wildlife, and help with the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas bird count.

  • Spring

    Yellow Warbler 150

    In March, spring heralds the beginning of a significant transition period. As monarch butterflies begin arriving from Mexico on their northerly migration, thousands of migratory shorebirds stop over to feed in refuge wetlands. Migrating warblers, pelicans, hawks and hummingbirds arrive, some stay to nest, while others pass through on their journey north. Bluebirds begin scouting for nest boxes, and the songs of colorful painted buntings again echo from the forest. Visitors enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of spring -- budding green trees, frog calls, fragrant wildflowers. Fishing is excellent on the lake during this time.

  • Summer

    White Faced Ibis 150

    It’s nesting season and the refuge is abuzz with activity. Great blue herons roost in their treetop nests, fledgling chicks of bluebirds, dickcissels, painted buntings, and killdeer appear, and white-tailed deer fawns lie hidden in the grasslands. By August, shorebirds head south, but winter residents such as blue-winged and green-winged teal begin to arrive. Visitors seek relief from summer heat in shady refuge forests, and enjoy boating and fishing on Lake Texoma. Wildlife-watching is at its best in prairie, forest, and open water habitats.

  • Fall

    Pelicans 150

    Autumn’s shorter daylight hours trigger migratory behavior in the refuge’s summer-resident birds, who depart for their tropical winter homes. As part of their own southward journeys, migratory shorebirds stop on the refuge to feed in the mudflats and rest. Visitors enjoy the memorable sights of migrating monarch butterflies, raptors, and white pelicans. Striped bass fishing is excellent on Lake Texoma, and bow hunters prepare for autumn deer season. Vibrant colors and invigorating smells fill the crisp autumn air.